Friday, 7 June 2013

Boards Of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest (Warp)

Boards of Canada obviously need some help publicising this, their second album in 27 years (or something), and knowing how influential this blog is I'm only happy to oblige. 

You probably don't know that BoC consists of two men. I think they're Scottish. They don't do many interviews, a fact that has gained them a following so devoted that should Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin urge them all to commit suicide on June 28, they would. 

Previous to the release of Tomorrow's Harvest a 12" was released (only two, or perhaps ten), one of which recently sold on eBay for £251,000 and 3 pence (congratulations, you are the highest bidder! It sure pays to add those extra odd pence)...something like that. Also, the duo set up a Da Vinci Code-like labyrinth of links which, once found and configured, allowed the online sleuth to be able to download this album which, by the way, is also encrypted with subliminal messages that reveal the true meaning of Jack Vettriano's Dance Me to the End of Love (something to do with the alignment of the figures correlating to certain stars which in turn, when translated into the page numbers of The Necronomicon reveal  an evil alliance between The Pope and Primark). True.

Imagine my surprise, nay, queasy horror, when ascending from the bowels of London Town the other day I saw an advert for this album slide past me on the escalator! I am now officially part of...something...the mainstream? Surely not! Not I, who takes such pride in being a purveyor of 'outsider' electronica like Daft Punk and The Chemical Brothers - no-o-o-o! I've sold out! I have succumbed to the lure of listening to what other people listen to instead of artists like Ekoplekz and Vatican Shadow (OK, a few other people listen to them, but I've never met one, and the fact that I have no friends and never go out has nothing to do with it).

Have Boards of Canada caught up with recent musical history or vice versa? After all, in today's Guardian interview  it's suggested that labels such as Ghost Box have been mining the same H****ological terrain since 9BoC, along with others. Yes, we all know that sampling 70s Horror (in the case of UK artists, cult kiddies TV) and referencing Italian slasher films has been de rigueur for years now. Have BoC been listening to Pye Corner Audio? Martin Jenkins surely listened to BoC. I'll be honest, the whole world seems have to listened avidly to BoC whilst these ears have been unimpressed, or at least never impressed enough to hail them as geniuses. You have to be a genius, after all, the be allowed out of the electronica ghetto and into the BBC studios for the John Peel show...don't you?

Fact is BoC show their age on a few tracks here by using some beats that they seem to have found down the back of the sofa in their rural recording studio ('Nothing Is Real'), and 'Sundown' is pure New Age cheese (get out of that country shack and into the city gutter, boys!) which, if played to anyone blind would not  be recognised as the work of Great Electronic Artists. Then again, perhaps they're be knowingly cheesy by recreating the mood of a John Carpenter cue to accompany a lull in slashing and shooting. 

'Come To Dust' is already a big record at sunset on beaches all over Ibiza and others will surely be used on the next series of Top Gear (as '1969' from Geogaddi was, apparently). I look forward to Monty Don sewing Hydrangeas on Gardeners' World to the sound of 'New Seeds'. Smart, really, pimping your tracks to anyone, thus buying more time in the studio.

I've been enjoying a fair chunk of this album, you'll be surprised to learn, but the pleasure diminishes with each play, which is a weird circumstance considering it's usually the other way around. Familiarity breeds contempt? They should have pushed themselves more. Instead, the track sequence suggests two middle-aged blokes starting out all full of vim and vigour before slumping, exhausted from their efforts and saying 'Oh, fuck it, that'll do' when age takes over. I know the feeling because I get it when trying to run round the block and grinding to a halt halfway up the third street. Boards of Canada also only get three-quarters 'round the block, but they've presumably had a lot more time to prepare.


  1. > ...a following so devoted that should [the duo] urge them all to commit suicide...

    And some of whom'll doubtlessly jockey to stack your shoutbox full of rancorous replies, seeing how a fair number of them have recently proven that they have no sense of humor...

    1. Ha-ha - 'Meanest April Fools joke ever'. When I saw I had a comment today I actually expected it to be from a devotee promising to hang draw and quarter me. Well, in the absence of God, people still feel the need to worship someone. Know any Charlie Parker jokes? Neither do I...


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