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Mind Bokeh

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 29, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

''Bokeh is a Japanese word,'' explains British artist-composer Stephen Wilkinson, a/k/a Bibio, in reference to Mind Bokeh, his second full-length disc for Warp. ''The word from which it originated, boke, means blur or haze. Bokeh with an 'h' on the end, however, is more specific to photography; it's the out-of-focus region of a picture. Photographers and lens manufacturers, particularly Japanese ones, are obsessed with bokeh, because the creaminess of the blur and its relationship to the focused subject may enhance the sharp aspects of the photograph, may make the portrait stand out.'' Bokeh is a good analogy for Wilkinson's newest work, where his alternately dreamy/woozy atmospherics surround ever more confident song craft.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 29, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warp Records
  • ASIN: B004IMDCJC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,065 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William Merrill VINE VOICE on March 28, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
Music fans who heard bibio's song "Lover's Carvings" on the kindle commercial might be better advised to buy the song rather than an entire album by him. I'm thinking that the experimental nature of most of bibio's music might be off-putting to many listeners. The artist uses distorted beats, altered vocals, ambient sounds, odd time signatures and other tricks to create his melange of sound. "Carvings" was on his last album, Ambivalence Avenue. On this new one, Mind Bokeh, a song can start out in a relatively conventional way, as with the quasi-funky "Pretentious," but then the melody fractures and never quite reassembles itself. The very next song, "Anything New," starts out as a pretty straightforward electro-pop number, but the 2nd half of the song features a twisted wordless vocal that sounds like the equipment is just starting to malfunction. And the rest of Mind Bokeh continues in similar fashion. None of it is unpleasant to listen to, and I like this kind of stuff myself, but I'm not sure what mainstream listeners will think.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
What could I say about Bibio that might convince you this deserves your attention?
Think about the wild ambience of a group like Boards of Canada, paired with the scatter-shot sampling style of Bonobo, and throw in a dash of Caribou. Many of us have favorite songs, favorite moments, even favorite memories with those groups (maybe others as well). The truth is, that's what this album is, at its' best. It preserves the unique approach this genre demands, while pulling, in some dramatic fashion, at your heartstrings.

I can remember how hearing the turn in the last 90 seconds of "Excuses" (the introduction to this album) made me glance to make sure it was the same song, because it devolves into a rough electro-jazz, influenced by Kraftwerk and Herbie Hancock, before ending suddenly. Many of the songs whiz by in a kind of distorted haze, but, on second and third listens, bonds are formed with the textures created. Every song has at least one or two moments that call back to something in my childhood. That lingering nostalgia is what created the connection for me to this album.

While it seems like a couple of the tracks don't fit well on this album (most people will call out to "Take Off Your Shirt"), remind yourself that albums need to breathe and take a few turns. This is not a mere collection of tracks. When "Saint Christopher" jazzily calls back to the title track, albeit in speedier, more upbeat form, you can start to recognize what this album is truly doing. It is a way to channel memories from our past, and propel them towards our mysterious, yet bright future.

One of my favorites of 2011.
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Format: MP3 Music
How to describe this? First these aren't songs, they're tracks. It's like a crazy collage of cut-out magazine photos all strewn together, glued on some neon poster board and slapped on your wall haphazardly. I pity the producer who tries to classify this music under some type of genre (and "electro-pop" doesn't begin to describe it). I totally agree with the other reviewer. If you're not familiar with Bibio then chances are this type of music is going to be somewhat foreign to you. It really is a bit for a discerning listener or maybe even an audiophile. It can be playfully chintzy at certain moments and then woefully sensual at others -and this can happen all within just one track. It's good music to listen to with your headphones on and your eyes shut tightly -just soaking it all in. Overall I really liked this.
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Format: Audio CD
Bibio continues his evolution with MIND BOKEH, leading with the moody, mysterious layers of at the start of "Excuses" that finally open up to reveal his vocals and, later on, some electro beats. The harpsichord dissonance at the start of "Pretentious" soon swings into 70s-style pop-funk that continues onto the instrumental bursts of "Anything New." The funk goes more blatant with the irrepressible bass on "Light Seep," while "Take Off Your Shirt" takes on a Phoenix-like rock vibe. A psychedelic feel envelops "Artists' Valley" and "K Is For Kelson" only amplifies the 70s pop feel. The title track itself seems to have wandered in from a Boards of Canada album, but the melancholy tenderness of "More Excuses" or the perkiness saxophone of "Feminine Eye" is Bibio's alone. And even as "Saint Christopher" wanders into light house territory, it's delicacy shows off how Bibio's transition to full-on electronic musician continues apace.
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Format: MP3 Music
So I first heard of Bibio from the Amazon commercial, and downloaded that song. Then I downloaded their sampler for Ambivalence Avenue. At first, I thought it was weird. Then it grew on me. I normally listen to more soft pop stuff, but I liked what I was hearing. When Mind Bokeh was $4, I jumped on this CD. And I am glad I did! While not all the songs are memorable (the tracks sometimes blend together), this is perfect music for when I'm doing my homework or just chilling out. I'll find myself humming random parts or remembering some hidden lyric. Here are my opinions on the songs:

Excuses - A very random tune, with lots of components. A lot of the tracks are a mix, but this one felt very unconnected and didn't interest me much. - 3/5

Pretentious - This one is funky and interesting. It changes throughout, but more like a chameleon than a mishmosh of random pieces. - 4/5

Anything New - This song starts slow but quickly becomes a stick-in-your-head melody. - 4.5/5

Wake Up! - Despite a broader variety of instruments and more vocals, this one is not particularly memorable and never really took off for me - 3/5

Light Seep - With a more electronic vibe, this one has a nice rhythm but remains calm. Not as compelling as some others, but still a good pick. - 4/5

Take Off Your Shirt - I know many other fans don't like this one, as it's quite a deviation from usual Bibio works. I love it, though. It's the easygoing soft vocals juxtaposed with a stronger beat that makes it always stick in my head. - 5/5

Artists' Valley - Sounds like the instrumental orchestration from a pop song, very catchy. It's dreamlike in its own unusual way. - 4.
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