Boards of Canada’s legendary debut LP tapped charmingly into its generation’s nostalgia for dodgy TV reception, public service announcements and unforgettable classroom mnemonics. It did so within a contemporary framework of analogue synthesisers and hip-hop rhythms, with a great ear for groove and melody. Today, the mutant, hybrid descendent of BoC’s yearning style is vaporwave, innit. Oh well.
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Here we have a vinyl re-press of one of the most lauded electronic albums of all time and certainly one that could be considered a ‘game changer’. Their particular brand of bleached out, saturated music is much copied but as this years ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’ proves, no-one else really has come close to completely emulating.
Taken in hindsight although the record still sounds superb, there is the odd clunky moment such as the ‘I love you’ sample in ‘An Eagle In Your Mind’ which is kind of overly twee and sentimental, yet the track does enough on its own terms with its glorious low end bass, deconstructed percussion and slo-mo, hazy melody. The album is full of such glorious pieces, interspersed by ambient Carpenter-like electronic squiggles.
To me, Boards of Canada are always at their best when they take something tougher and bring to it their particular soft-focus way with a melody. ‘Telaphasic Workshop’ is the perfect example of this, with its skittery hip-hoppy cuts and hard hitting techno beats, the juxtaposition with the warm synths, the way it builds slowly and carefully over six minutes introducing extra layers of chopped vocals is simply mindblowing. Whether by accident or design, the album is not over slick, it sounds hand crafted.
I won’t have time here to discuss all 17 tracks so I’ll just pick one - in my mind their high water moment. ‘Roygbiv’ is like no other Boards of Canada track, or any track by anyone. It's so melodious and its similarity to the theme tune for Ronnie Corbett’s 1980s BBC sitcom ‘Sorry’ is uncanny, starting with a killer synth line, its rickety percussion is joined by layers and layers of glorious melody until finally, tragically it's all over within two and a half minutes. One of the greatest pieces of electronic music ever constructed is just one of the highlights of this sprawling album which, whether or not you are already familiar with it, is an absolute must-have.
9/10 Gareth. Customer review, 22nd October 2013
what can you say about this record that hasn't already been said, covered in miles and miles of print ink and discussed blah, blah, blah by the consignenti over the years since it's release.
Well, all that is cobblers mate.
This is the kind of music that's infinitely personal, and each person who hears it, takes something different from the equation.
To say that it's a blend of Hip Hop and Tech-ish electronica, with a faded timeless feel to it is stating the bleedin' obvious.
To say it's a landmark record that has changed the face of music and still infuences other musicians today is also stating the bleedin' obvious.
What you could do is.....
Just let it's magic unfold on you over the course of the record.
let the music sink in and become ingrained in your soul, which is probably what BOC wanted in the first place the evil buggers!
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