|MH-244 Bibio - Hand Cranked
Following the success of his debut album, Fi, Wolverhampton, England's Stephen Wilkinson, aka Bibio, has assembled Hand Cranked, a fourteen track collection of idyllic found sound and lazy Sunday musical ramblings. The release maintains a stylistic bond with his debut, again focusing on his love for saturated guitars, warbling effects, and natural beauty, although this time with a slightly more whimsical feel. An increased confidence is also evident, both in the heightened virtuosity of Bibio's guitar playing and with his first appearance as a vocalist on the track, "Abberiw." With his first two albums, Bibio has established himself as an exciting new talent, and Mush is proud to provide him an outlet for his work.
|A lovingly-crafted, hand-made gift - Mojo / Utterly evocative and painterly - All Music Guide / Simply beautiful - One Week to Live / A quietly captivating assemblage - The Daily Telegraph / Just fantastic - Lodown / A fine wordless yarn - Miami New Times / Wilkinson's coiling melodies are charming, memorable - Lost At Sea
|Each year there comes along an album that defines summer for me, last year it was the wild street party atmosphere of Yerba Buena’s Island Life but this year summer will be taking a slower turn through the year as Bibio’s sublime Hand Cranked floats gently out of my headphones. This is about the best example of introspective bedroom music that can be found in that the work is contemplative, sincere, and unafraid of the occasional fumbled note. Hand Cranked is genuine which is something missing in today’s deluge of pre-made and heavily packaged music industry. On his second album Wilkinson, the man behind Bibio, provides a work of delicate charm where the dominant sound is acoustic guitars that are layered, sampled, and processed to create new voicings. He treats the guitar as a palette with which he can aural landscapes such as on “The Cranking Mouse” opening with the chime like sounds of the strings on the head stock being plucked haltingly as a winds of static blusters in the background gives a whimsical feel and imparts a feeling of windup toys tottering about. “Back Country Blue” drifts in ethereally by his use of backwards tracks the slowly billow like sheets in a light breeze. Not all of the album is experimental in nature as some tracks scale back the playfulness to assume a more traditional approach. “Cherry Go Round”, while making liberal use of tape effects, is a plucky folk number where the main melody dances about being supported by a wheezy squeezebox like accompaniment and mischievous recorders blowing a simple counterpoint. It is by far one of my favorite pieces on the album for its lightness and playful demeanor truly capture overall feeling of the album. Hand Cranked is one of my favorite albums to date and is very likely going to remain on heavy rotation as summer slowly creeps its way through New England. Wilkinson’s use of found sounds, water and birds, with his unabashed guitar playing and adeptness in the studio make for an album that distills the essence of lazy summer afternoons. Highly recommended. - Candied Pop