Monday, February 12, 2007
t’s ironic that Bibio (aka Stephen Wilkinson) first came to the attention of the Mush label via the recommendation of Boards of Canada’s Marcus Eoin, his wonderful 2004 debut ‘Fi’ and this excellent new album manage to work in all the places BOC’s recent ‘Campfire Headphase’ album failed. Taking much the same formula that characterised his debut, Bibio’s music places its focus on those de-tuned interludes and aged educational television soundtracks that have peppered all 3 Boards albums – turning transition pieces and oddities into the focal point of the record. There is a beautifully timeless charm to the dusty guitar lullabies that make up the majority of ‘Hand Cranked’, at times displaced and augmented by found sounds, old cassette recordings, quiet dictaphone loops and even the odd vocal interjection from Wilkinson himself, never failing to evoke a hazy spool of half-formed memories and misplaced nostalgia that were the trademark of those first tantalising moments from Bibio’s artistic Patrons up in Edinburgh. It might be difficult for Wilkinson to stick to this formula for any follow-up material without starting to lose the attention of his audience, though for now ‘Hand Cranked’ serves its purpose wonderfully as an evocative, lilting collection of subliminally life-affirming music for lost souls and emotional vagabonds searching for the haziest musical recollections of childhood.