14 September 2005


campfireSo at last the new Boards Of Canada album has arrived. When I say 'arrived', as far as the general public are concerned it hits the streets on 17th October. But I've already got it. And no, I didn't get a promo from Warp (I tried, but they didn't have any spare copies for lowly bloggers like me!). No, the album came to me as a 192kbps zipped file via Yousendit - a surprise gift from one of my fellow bloggers (and I've no idea where he got!). Then I notice a thread started up at Dissensus already. Wow, information moves around fast these days. Is it already on Soulseek? I haven't been there at all this year cos I'm completely bored with the whole file-sharing thing, but it's a bit depressing if that's the case. My initial reaction is that it's classic BoC in terms of the melodies, textures etc, although - perhaps due to my prodigious intake of grimey riddims these days - the beats do sound incredibly slow and dull now, with the odd exception like "Dayvan Cowboy", which goes off on one with the sizzling cymbals. Like Daft Punk, BoC seem to be re-exploring the guitar once more, although in a much gentler, traditional fashion. And what's happened to all the 'found' dialogue samples? What will all the obsessive fans do now they can't play the tracks in reverse to find the hidden messages 'n' shit?

True, they haven't moved on that much, but it's sort of comforting to know what you're getting with BoC. My main problem is that it's all quite enjoyable as relaxing listening experience, but there's nothing here yet that sends a cold shudder of fleeting recognition for a buried memory down my spine like the older stuff. Maybe it'll come in time. I wasn't massively impressed with "Geogaddi" at first, but christ, did it ever grow on me! For the record though, I still think they peaked with the "Beautiful Place In The Country" EP.

definitely more listening required yet ...

Anyone wishing to get a taster of what's in store should check the exclusive track available at Bleep:

Update: Oh wow, check this Pitchfork interview with Boards Of Canada. Revelations. Explanations. The new album will make a bit more sense if you read it. Don't miss!

"The Campfire Headphase" has been steadily working it's way into my subconscious. There's still a couple of tracks, like "Peacock Tail", that just float through one ear and out the other cos they're just so pleasant and nondescript, but when it's good it's awesome. The final triad of slow-burning melancholic dreamscapes, particularly "Tears From The Compound Eye", get the hairs up on the back of my neck like "Selected Ambient Works II"-era Aphex. Yeah, it's that good. BoC still rule their own particular little niche-genre, whatever that is. Just don't call it IDM, okay?