Bibio – Vignetting The Compost

Band: Bibio
Album: Vignetting the Compost
Genre: Alternative
Label: Mush Records

Track listing:
1. Flesh Rots, Pip Sown
2. Mr. and Mrs. Compost
3. Everglad Everglade
4. Dopplerton
5. Great Are the Piths
6. Odd Paws
7. Under the Pier
8. Weekend Wildfire
9. The Clothesline and the Silver Birch
10. Torn Under the Window Light
11. The Ephemeral Bluebell
12. Over the Far and Hills Away
13. Amongst the Bark and Fungus
14. Top Soil
15. Thatched
16. The Garden Shelter

Mush records is typically known for its indie/experimental hip-hop music, however Bibio has recently joined the Mush family, and it appears to be a great new fit. This album is quite different than what you would expect if you have knowledge of any of Bibio’s previous stuff. Yes, there were folk melodies running through the electronica, but this album has been stripped of the electronics, exposing the bare bones of Bibio and shows perhaps, the roots of their sound.

After my first listen to this cd I was left feeling a little bit underwhelmed to say the least. Feeling a bit unimpressed, I decided to give it another listen, leaving my expectations for what I expected the new Bibio material to be aside. Giving the album a second chance was a good choice because as I listened I found some refreshment, appeal, and magic in this somewhat new sound.

I did not expect expecting the rich songwriting that I was hearing from Bibio, it was something fresh and new. In this album the electronics used are almost transparent to the listener. It’s a much more acoustic and raw sound. Yes, I’m positive Bibio has used electronics and at least the typical modern production on this album, but it is very subtle and leaves us with a very organic and auditory album- hence the compost title, maybe.

On this album there is very strong song structure, largely centered around the acoustic guitar, percussion and vocals. You can hear hints of psychedelic folk from he late 60’s and early 70’s. If I listened to this cd, not knowing it was a 2009 release, I would think I was listening to a sampling from the 60s-70s era. Of course, the distorted static loop in Under The Pier is a give away that we are clearly not back in the 60s and exhibits a very “now” type if sound. But this album is very balanced between old and new. With artists such as Bibio applying their techniques to the genre, the new folk movement is one to keep your eye on, and your ear to. Bibio manages to stand out in their sound, sounding very unique. Something very new sounding a bit like something old, and doing it well is something I find quite impressive. I found this a difficult album to review, because it goes against all the predetermined notions I had of Bibo, yet is well worth a listen to. If you go in with an open mind, you won’t be disappointed. I left this album feeling impressed and refreshed by the sound, and I would expect that you will too.

*Written By: Lauren Perry*
Grade: 8/10

James Shotwell
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