Bibio
Mind Bokeh


4.0
excellent

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
March 29th, 2011 | 43 replies | 13,155 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bibio paints in watercolors.

Who would’ve thought? English producer Stephen Wilkinson aka Bibio releases another album that bears little resemblance to any that came before. In case you missed the obvious, it comes with a handy signal: Mind Bokeh, his sixth album, is named after that particular photographic phenomenon of the blur, a singular aesthetic which goes hand in hand with Wilkinson’s genre-bending tendencies. “Folktronica” is a terrible term, but with 2009’s Ambivalence Avenue Wilkinson was well on his way to abandoning any and all genre tags. Mind Bokeh, thankfully, makes it even harder to pigeonhole the eclectic producer, running the gamut as it does from soothing chillwave to electric jazz-lounge to jangly funk. Describing Mind Bokeh is an exercise in futility itself – those adjectives I just threw up are about as handy to understanding Bibio as a catchall term as horrific as “electronica” is.

No, Mind Bokeh is much more about the feeling in the moment, the way opener “Excuses” slowly builds itself up through an ominous glitch rhythm before deconstructing into a proper jam, or how “Anything New” calls to mind the sounds and sights of summer better than anything I’ve heard all year. Bibio has a truly masterful ability to slide from melody to hook and then all back again through a different prism, seemingly effortlessly. Nowhere is this more apparent than “Pretentious,” which bleeds together all of Bibio’s wonderfully disparate sounds into a cocktail of dark instrumentals, slow motion funk, and Destroyer-esque retro jazz saxophone. It’s as colorful as it sounds, and it makes for an album where one can never quite know what to expect next.

Even Wilkinson doesn’t know what to expect next, evidently: “Take Off Your Shirt,” a nod to Thin Lizzy but one that comes off more like a poor man’s Phoenix rip off, sounds absolutely nothing like anything that comes before and after, and the record’s flow suffers a bit for it. Neither does Mind Bokeh proffer up anything as terrific as “Fire Ant” from Ambivalence Avenue, but neither does it need to. Mind Bokeh is content to be that comedown album from the summer party, perfectly happy to let something like “Light Seep,” which sounds like the ideal soundtrack to a ‘70s porno (this is a good thing), cozy up to the soulful harmonies on “Wake Up!” and the twisted rhythms and looped guitar sample of “Artists’ Valley.” Nowhere is this more obvious than on the final track, a skittering six-minute opus through Bibio’s washed-out soundscapes. Crackled samples and increasingly complicated loops are tossed and turned amidst a sea of fuzz, a stunning reminder of the simplicity of letting the music speak for itself. “St. Christopher” is a bit of a microcosm of the album as a whole, the one track that best symbolizes the bokeh of the title and the musical blur that pervades Mind Bokeh and the rest of Bibio’s discography. It’s also a reminder never to predict where Wilkinson is going to go next, because you’ll probably just end up looking like a fool.



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user ratings (71)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
PorkchopExpress (4)
Without doing any research: if I had to venture a guess, I'd say the term "Bokeh" means "summer-albu...


Comments:Add a Comment 
PorkchopExpress
March 29th 2011



387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, and it cements that "Take Off Your Shirt" will be a polarizing track. Also, I totally agree that "Folktronica" is a horrid term.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2011



9977 Comments


This looks like something I would probably get into.
Great review; love the summary especially. Pos!

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

MaskAtTheMasquerade
March 29th 2011



2887 Comments


gotta check this out

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2011



10251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks all

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2011



30865 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

You have to admit though that Fi and Hand Cranked are essentially the same record

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

WashboardSuds
March 29th 2011



4981 Comments


great review, I've been meaning to check this guy out soon because I heard he was a bit similar to Lone

Digging: Acid Bath - When the Kite String Pops

PorkchopExpress
March 29th 2011



387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@WashboardSuds His early stuff for sure (sounding like Lone, I mean). Not so much the last few albums.

@Deviant Agree 100%. Even Vignetting the Compost sounds a lot like those two.

WashboardSuds
March 29th 2011



4981 Comments


you mean Bibio sounds like Lone's earlier stuff or Lone sounds like Bibio's earlier stuff?

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2011



10251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

more his new stuff obviously

PorkchopExpress
March 29th 2011



387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, I meant that Lone sounds like Bibio's early stuff, but I've only heard Lemurian. So I'm not sure how he (Lone) sounds now.

WashboardSuds
March 29th 2011



4981 Comments


gotcha. I'll try some of this guy's earlier albums for accessibility's sake

kingsoby1
Emeritus
March 29th 2011



4939 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

will check it bro

jeremologyy
March 29th 2011



263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review to a good album. not amazing, but i actually do enjoy it more than Ambivalence Avenue.

afghanwhigger
March 29th 2011



67 Comments


Great review... totally looking forward to hearing this.

Knott-
Emeritus
March 30th 2011



10194 Comments


bears* little resemblance : (

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2011



30865 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yo Rude Boy, wherez the wompzz

TREO5
March 30th 2011



1067 Comments


Wompa stompa. Forgot what code did though, unlimited jetpack or something??

Spare
March 30th 2011



5250 Comments


album cover reminds me of this and seemingly has a similar sound

Digging: Radiator Hospital - Torch Song

farglesnuff
March 30th 2011



241 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

shweet. i will be checkin this out fo sho.

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2011



10251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sorry knott i must've been thinking about you...and that wonderful night we spent together in the pyrenees



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