Glitchy electronica that is also weirdly organic.

When I was 20 I was a computer programmer. I lived in a house with two of my best friends. Unfortunately just as we moved in they both met girls who they would go on to live with or marry. This meant that for about six months I lived on my own in a three story town house. This house was on a hill and it overlooked my ugly new-town home-town. When the sun rose in the morning I would watch as it shone, brilliant and golden on the windows of a towering office block. One of my great joys was to start the day watching the sunrise and listening to ‘Roygbiv’ from this album.

Boards of Canada are a strange beast indeed. They are two brothers who are very rarely, if ever, seen. Apparently they are named after the National Film Boards of Canada who made wildlife films in the 1970s that inspired the brothers. You may not have heard of the name though I suspect you will have heard their music. It’s almost certain that you will have heard music from their third album (The Campfire Headphase) because, for a while, it was all over every BBC program trailer you could imagine.

A fellow programmer lent me this album and suggested I might like it. I didn’t think that much of it when I first heard it until I heard ‘Roygbiv’. I loved that song from the very first time I heard it. More surprising is that I still love it fourteen years later. I would sit in our (empty) living room and gaze out at the world and listen to that song repeatedly. Then I started to hunger for more of the same. There’s nothing else like that on the album. What is there though is a wistfulness inducing collection of electronic songs.

It’s hard to define what it is that separates Boards of Canada from the rest of the electronica world. There is something organic about their music. It’s quit hard to fathom how that can be given the tightly constructed and computer controlled way in which this music is made. It’s incredibly cinematic music. When I say cinematic I mean that it seems to encourage the mind to put images to the music. It’s also very hypnotic music. Certain moments in this album feel like someone got a tibetan temple and put a drum beat underneath it.

This album is not everybody’s cup of tea but I can’t stand tea so I guess that’s ok. Very few people I’ve lent this to have liked it but the ones that did have adored it and I’ve struggled to get it back from them.

If you’re in the market for some organic, hypnotic, cinematic, meditative, glitchy electronica then go and get yourself some Boards of Canada.

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