Bibio Fi

Whenever "self-taught” is thrown in front of the description of a musician, that little voice in the back of one’s head gets a little louder, but luckily Stephen Wilkinson, or Bibio, does quite all right in this admirable experiment. Essentially a pastoral cut-and-paste of nature sounds, acoustic strums and glitches that sound like they’re emanating from a victrola, Fi brings to mind various parts of Boards of Canada, and maybe a smattering of Four Tet. There are some straightforward gorgeous tracks like "Lakeside,” with just simple acoustic chords mixed in with some vocal samples, but some of the more beguiling ones are those that allow Bibio to fully mash his inspirations together. This is seen effectively in "Cantaloup Carousel”, where piano chords are slightly warped to give a toybox repetition effect, but also allowing room for slight changes within the repetition, leaving a hypnotic effect over a deceptively simple song. Of course, the downside is that Bibio seems to have a limited bag of tricks, and its hard to discern one song from the other, or despite some select inventiveness, each track seems to consist of a guitar, samples and warped production. Of course, there are enough bright spots here to keep an ear for further pastoral splendour. (Mush)