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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 66 - 02/27/02

Boards of Canada
Warp Records

Sometimes it's good to be proved wrong. You just have to let go of your pride and admit that you jumped to a hasty conclusion. I was convinced that this album had little merit, that it merely covered the same ground as Music Has The Right To Children (1998). Beautiful ground, sure, but I was hoping for a leap forward in sound after the four-year hiatus since their seminal debut. The In A Beautiful Place In The Country EP reminded me just how great BoC are, but could they produce another classic long player?

Initially I thought not. On the first couple of listens I was extremely disappointed, the songs sounding like inferior facsimiles of their predecessors. The trademark sound is the same: crisp, inventive beat patterns, deeply satisfying synths, the chatter of manipulated voice samples. But it's only on repeated listens that you feel how satisfying the whole is, and how the overall tone has shifted slightly.

Suddenly the drums start to kick out at you: "Music Is Math" sounds phenomenal, and the galloping stereo beats in "Gyroscope" are terrifying at high volume. The melodies, although familiar, sound slightly skewed. And then you notice that on some tracks there's the moan of women in the throes of orgasm. Oh yes: BoC are moving away from naive, childlike voices to red-blooded, adult ejaculations (!).

The cover of the album conveys this shift in tone, with the rich, bloody oranges and reds contrasting markedly with the cold, alien blues of "MHTRTC". The nature documentary feel of the music is still there, but now feels red in tooth and claw.

BoC also seem to have got the hang of pacing an hour's worth of music. Their debut was packed with great songs, but felt a little too long. Geogaddi has nothing to spare, and even the tracks that seem weak at first open up kaleidoscopically later.

At least the equal of its predecessor, Geogaddi is a superb album. Just get used to ignoring another swathe of imitators.

Copyright © 2002 Tim Clarke e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Boards of Canada articles/reviews: Geogaddi, In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country, The Campfire Headphase.

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