Review Summary: Echoes and voices can sometimes be heard, in some way or another...
An album's context has always been inconsequential towards my enjoyment of it. As long as the music itself was up to snuff I could just as easily listen to songs about the death of someone’s cherished loved one as I could about the artist stomping on puppies. For me, it’s always been about the visceral experience of listening to the music. I’ve never “related” to any artist’s message or ideas because simply, I’m a different person, with different views on the world and different ways of interacting and handling its perpetual surprises and my own tribulations. Any similarities between my experiences and those of anyone else were just that, similarities. Good and bad. People die, hearts break, ambition is realized, and love is found all over the world every day. I see it everywhere though, everything from people bragging about how much they cried during a song *eyeroll* to people’s lives being legitimately changed because of an album or a movie they experienced and the sometimes the thought bubbles up…
Why can’t I connect to music like others do?
It’s never a bothersome thought as much as one born of sheer morbid curiosity, but for the length of Bibio’s Phantom Brickworks
and forevermore, I have an inkling of an idea. Phantom Brickworks
premise isn’t especially deep, it’s actually pretty simple, if anything a simple turn of phrase to fit Bibio’s explanation:
I don’t believe in ghosts but I do believe places can be haunted by meaning. Places change, not always for the better and not always by natural, benevolent or politically sound means. A place can be charged with atmosphere because of what it has been through or what it has been.
This notion of places being “haunted by meaning”, as esoteric and conceptual as it seems, is somehow perfectly actualized in Phantom Brickworks
. Much like Silver Wilkinson
in the way it channeled a late delirious summer, Phantom Brickworks
plays with themes of nostalgia to set its mood. A subdued fuzz swims under many tracks, anchoring the listener in a past of their own fabrication brought about by Bibio’s soundscapes. The beauty of nature is explored extensively throughout the album, in particular “Phantom Brickworks III” which paints a vivid picture of greenery and life through its hushed pianos and uplifting tone. In contrast, “9:13” and “Capel Celyn” convey much more somber moods, utilizing woodwinds to great effect in reflecting a sort of inevitable change in places brought about by man. The music never swells and builds to any kind of climax, opting instead to simply flow much like the passage of time. The inclusions of some buzzing woodwinds or chirpy piano passages throughout injects both a profound sense of passing time and a magical quality that really entraps and forces imagination from the listener. Phantom Brickworks
relies on its tracks’ slow progression to create self-contained worlds for the listener to project their experiences into. Its atmosphere is omnipresent, what conjures images of a small forest from one person’s childhood will conjure a deserted wooden bridge covered in vines for another person. After last year’s electro acoustic funky A Mineral Love
, Phantom Brickworks
is one hell of an about face for Bibio, but the man has mastered the sounds of nostalgia. And I sit here, intermittently looking out the window of my house at my tree I’ve watched die for a third straight autumn and for the first time I get it. I’ve connected.