Boards of Canada: Geogaddi on CD

Gary Thorogood reviews

Boards of Canada
Distributed by
Warp Cover

  • Year: 2002
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Cat. No: Warpcd101

    Since the release of 1998’s “Music Has the Right to Children”, Scotland’s Boards of Canada, have built up something of a reputation for producing distorted, skewed electronica, despite the fact that almost nothing is known about this most mysterious of duos. A recent interview in the New Musical Express (conducted by E-Mail of course) has done little to lessen the mystique.

    What we are left with, therefore, is pure music – robbed of context and autobiographical baggage it must stand alone and speak for itself. Thankfully it does so eloquently. For over 66 minutes we are transported to a musical landscape that at first appears strangely familiar but gradually becomes merely strange. Although largely instrumental, the album is littered with ghostly voices, fractured whispered conversations and other-worldly sounds that combine to give a feeling of disorientation and paranoia.

    The full track listing is as follows:

    1. Ready Let’s Go
    2. Music is Math
    3. Beware the Friendly Stranger
    4. Gyroscope
    5. Dandelion
    6. Sunshine Recorder
    7. In the Annexe
    8. Julie and Candy
    9. The Smallest Weird Number
    10. 1969
    11. Energy Warning
    12. The Beach at Redpoint
    13. Opening the Mouth
    14. Alpha and Omega
    15. I Saw Drones
    16. The Devil is in the Details
    17. a is to b is to c
    18. Over the Horizon Radar
    19. Dawn Chorus
    20. Diving Station
    21. You Could Feel the Sky
    22. Corsair
    23. Magic Window

    Geogaddi is ultimately an unsettling album, constantly catching the casual listener off guard with its twists and turns and its own internal fuzzy logic.

    Boards of Canada do not, in any sense of the word, produce ambient music. They require more from the listener than mere active passivity. Close your eyes and you could imagine you’re in the middle of a David Lynch film set amongst the frozen terrain of Northern Alaska or on a lonely planet cast adrift from the rest of civilisation. Yet dig beneath the surface and there is much beauty and grandeur to be found. With each play, more and more of Geogaddi’s subtleties and crafted nuances come to the fore.

    Boards of Canada are unique amongst their electronica contemporaries. Next to them the likes of the Chemical Brothers sound insipid, uninspired and not a little passe. Geogaddi is a striking achievement and should be considered compulsory listening for all this with jaded palettes but with a thirst for audio adventure.

    Review copyright © Gary Thorogood, 2002. E-mail Gary Thorogood

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