Bibio: Hand Cranked

Sounding like a slightly more countrified than psychedelicized Boards of Canada, Bibio's Hand Cranked credibly extends Stephen Wilkinson's music beyond his fi debut (how fitting his choice of moniker derives from a fly fishing lure). While Warp's revered duo conjures mystical settings that subsist in some imaginary ethereal realm, Wilkinson solidifies his connection to the natural richness of his Wolverhampton, England homestead with these fourteen idyllic settings.

As did Boards of Canada on its last full-length, The Campfire Headphase , Bibio explores even more thoroughly the sonic range of the guitar on the new outing, with the six-string picked but also subjected to backwards phasing and aquatic warbling (an effect that turns sitar-like in “Zoopraxiphone”). Sunkissed vignettes like “Marram” and the ‘60s-styled vocal cut “Aberriw” intimate that Bibio's forecast is anything but gloomy. The music's folk roots move to the forefront in “Woodington” and “Maroon Lagoon” while the combination of melodica, ‘60s bass, and cheery pop melodies in “DYFI” pulls Bibio into F.S. Blumm's sonic orbit. “Above the Rooftops” sounds like the local prodigy caught playing the piano at the local country pub, the song's light-hearted vibe representative of Hand Cranked in general.

October 2006