Reviews

Bibio

The type of woozy, warbled guitar sounds that pervade some of Boards of Canada's Campfire Headphase are the same brand that induced Boards member Marcus Eoin to help Bibio secure a record deal. Stephen Wilkinson, operating here as experimentalist Bibio, twists the classically arranged guitar-based songwriting on Hand Cranked into lush instrumental watercolorings that are swallowed in an ever-present decrepit "tape reel" ambience. On Fi, Wilkinson's compelling 2005 debut, he called lovingly to late 1960s English folk bards, but ensured that each guitar phrase was treated with pitch shifts and lightened by faded woodwind swirls. Hand Cranked is also baked with these flowery reeds, particularly in the brief summery recorder loop of "Cherry Go Round" and in the rich drones and spirited wood flutes of the tellingly titled "Woodington." "Aberriw" features some vocals from Wilkinson, his whimsical melody followed by some bleary brass accompaniment on the way out to more bonfire jubilance in the mildly psychedelic backward plucks of "Zoopraxiphone." Fetch ye another tankard of ale, wench, and settle into this bloke and his lute. He has clearly been inhaling solvent with the village blacksmith, but he sure does spin a fine wordless yarn.