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Mind Bokeh is the fifth album from eclectic, Warp Records-signed British producer Steven Wilkinson.
It’s not uncommon for producers, particularly those signed to Warp Records, to be fairly eclectic, but Steven Wilkinson has made a career out of it. His first few albums saw him labelled with the ‘folktronica’ tag for his use of sliced-up guitar parts, real-world samples and droning synth sounds. Yet his move to Warp in 2009 saw him change tack to find a more accessible, vocally driven sound incorporating hip-hop beats and poppy synth lines.
Mind Bokeh - named after a Japanese photographic term - is the most eclectic thing he’s released yet. It is, essentially, all over the place. Hip-hop influenced tracks like Wake Up! sit next to the guitar-pop of K Is For Kelson, while Take Your Shirt Off is full blown glammed-up pop.
Not that this wild eclecticism is necessarily a bad thing, on the whole Mind Bokeh is a mostly successful record. But, as is often the case when a producer like Bibio tries to do everything at once, there are a number of missteps. The retro funk of Light Sleep just seems odd compared to the rest of the album, while the clumsy beat of Pretentious stumbles over itself.
Mind Bokeh’s best moments come in some of the more low-key tracks towards the end of the album, the likes of More Excuses and St Christopher. In all, there’s no doubt the production skill is there, let’s just hope the next album is more focused.