Boreal Network is the project of Seattle’s Nicole Johnson, and Itasca Road Trip is a set of compositions that caused a bit of a stir with the original Bandcamp release. This is the first vinyl appearance for the album, with beautiful new artwork on the More Than Human label, and it’s bound to satisfy those with a taste for woozy Boards of Canada-style electronics.
8/10 Jamie Staff review, 05 April 2016
Oh looky, a Bandcamp favourite! In lovely vinyl form! Boreal Network’s Nicole Johnson is a Seattle-based producer; she has crafted here a sun-dappled, hazily nostalgic LP of woozy electronica miniatures. Itasca Road Trip, originally released last year as a cassette, is an aural tour of Itasca State Park in her Minnesota home. I’d love to have a park in my home, wouldn’t you? Mmm... Green. Here’s where the BoC comparisons start, you think. Right? Well… No. It’s more beat-y, for a start; ‘Badlands’ is a groovy little thing with dusty riffage. ‘Sylvan Lake’ is a kinda pretty Autechre-like jam. ‘Hike to the Summit’ shuffles along in a dreamy daze -- it’ll take ages getting to the top but *just doesn’t care* and ‘The View from Harney Peak’ is a delightful little passage harking back to… oh all right then, it’s Boards circa ‘Music Has The Right to Children’. Best Boards. Baked in the sunshine. And so it continues on side B track one, ‘This is a Tornado Warning’.
‘Devil’s Tower’ conjures up memories for me of a particularly foolish and shadow-less walk one swelteringly hot day in July from Yorkshire Sculpture Park to Emley Moor transmitter. Except that may not have happened at all. I don’t know why I mentioned it… Anyhow, it’s the haziest yet most blue-skied track on the record, at a marathon four minutes in length. ‘The View From the Needless’ (yet another view - it’s all rolling hills around here y’know) is the most Boards-y, Not-Actually-By-BoC tune y’all ever heard. A track inspired by a tower (of all things), this one being water-based, and a final tune about views and the people who seek them round off this very pleasing -- not at all sounding like two highly revered and pioneering electronica Scotsmen -- artefact of loveliness.
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- Itasca Road Trip by Boreal Network
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