|Having moved on from a critically acclaimed debut, Bibio has shifted labels, to Mush, which seems like a strange marriage, as Mush is usually associated with indie/experimental hip-hop. Mush is not the only hip-hop label to be broadening its horizons, Anticon, often compared with Mush, has also gone down this road, broadening its roster to contain more folk tinged output. This is one of those creatures, long gone has the intricate ambient soundscapes and textures of an emerging Bibio, yes, their were folk melodies running through the electronica, but this album has been stripped of the electronics, back to the bare bones, is this the real roots of the Bibio sound?|
I didn’t really give this much attention on the first listen, and its probably fortunate I didn’t review it after this one listen. Revisiting later, trying to absorb more of the sound, trying not to revert to how I ‘expected’ a new Bibio album to sound, I find some hidden charm, warmth, and refreshing song writing I was not expecting. While I mention the word ‘folk’, you’d expect something not dissimilar to Tunng, but the level in which electronics is used is well hidden, almost transparent to the listener. Yes I’m sure Bibio has used electronics and modern production on this album, but its more confined to the assembly of the songs, and the very subtle effects applied to a mostly acoustic sounding record.
There is strong song structure here, largely centred around the acoustic guitar, vocals and percussion. It even has a ‘warble’ to the sound, making it appear to be plucked from the fertile era of psychedelic folk in the late 60’s and early 70’s, it just doesn’t sound like an album released in 2009, more like a long lost classic ripe for reissue. There are give away signs of course, the electronic effects do creep in, and they sound very ‘now’, the distorted static loop in Under The Pier is a give away, that organic electronic processing much loved on previous Bibio material, and heralded as the signature sound of Boards Of Canada. The new folk movement is one to watch with artists such as Bibio applying their techniques to the genre, managing to stand alone in its sound, not sounding too much like anywhere else, yes there are moments looking back to Boards Of Canada, Rick Tomlinson, or early acoustic Thrill Jockey artists, but on the whole this is something totally new, but sounding very old… If I’m not making much sense, its best you investigate this further, as I’m sure you’ll find this a rewarding listening experience, especially when you can forget your pre-conceived ideas of what a new Bibio record should sound like. - Cyclic Defrost