Bibio: Mind Bokeh

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At the end of the last millennium, Boards of Canada epically named their opus Music Has The Right To Children. Less than a decade later, their future collaborator Stephen Wilkinson, a.k.a. Bibio, answered the call like some mad in-vitro musical-fertilization pioneer-genius and set about bringing music's children into the world.

Since the release of his 2005 debut, fi on LA's MUSH Records, Bibio's focus on creating a successful, vibrant union between the warm familiarity of the acoustic guitar and cool realm of loops and samples has been notable for its truly unique results. Lush and beautiful as each of his albums are (see Vignetting the Compost and Ambivalence Avenue) his method was seemingly to allow his compositions to drone and decay, resulting in an organic quality that is now definitively "Bibio." However each release seemed to skirt the edge of a miraculous discovery. Like some curious child, Bibio's sound was looking for opportunity to grow and play in the sun.

Bibio fostered and nurtured that sound and has allowed it to grow, so that we now have a lovely new album (forthcoming on Warp Records) called Mind Bokeh. "Bokeh" comes from the Japanese word for the point at which a photo or image becomes out of focus, or rather the way that light and everything that isn't in focus looks. One gets the impression that in letting his sound grow, his fi focus has become crystal clear, but he's also incorporating as many of the elements on the edge of his focus as possible. As definitive a statement as BoC's "Music has the Right…," with this album Bibio has moved on from Ambivalence Avenue and boldly brightened the contrast between the melodies and the decay and has crafted songs with more traditional song structures and recognizable influences. Where once there was only a remarkable swirl of experimental psychedelic drones and folk guitar, now there are nuanced, gorgeous elements of LA broken-beat, sinewy post-punk, bassy funk/soul groove, resulting in a complex and fully realized album that you should definitely pay attention to.

"K is for Kelson," "Wake Up!," and "Take Off Your Shirt" are all really fantastic examples of the potential directions Bibio's sound can go, but for folks who've been tuned in and turned on since fi or are big fans of Ambivalence Avenue, fear not. He doesn't abandon his Bibio-ness. The album closer, "Saint Christopher" is a phenomenally beautiful piece that elicits that proud wonder feeling of reuniting with a family member's child who has changed and grown up in your time apart, but is still exactly the same.

-- Mario Cotto, KCRW Music Host


Mind Bokeh will be available to stream on demand from March 21 through April 19, 2011. The album will be released on March 29, 2011.

Artist's website:

Track listing:
1. Excuses
2. Pretentious
3. Anything New
4. Wake Up!
5. Light Seep
6. Take Off Your Shirt
7. Artists’ Valley
8. K is For Kelson
9. Mind Bokeh
10. More Excuses
11. Feminine Eye
12. Saint Christopher

Banner image: Mad Perch





Mario Cotto