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Album Review

Geogaddi, the most anticipated sophomore full-length from an IDM act since Aphex Twin's SAW 2 in 1994, certainly looks and feels similar to the 1998 Boards of Canada debut, Music Has the Right to Children. The package design includes artful, bleached-out photos of children playing, while the lengthy track listing balances short vignettes with longer tracks. Fans will be delighted to hear that the music also reveals no great departure from one of the most immediately recognizable sounds in electronica; a pair of Scottish cottage producers apparently whiling away the hours creating music, Boards of Canada specialize in evocative, mournful, sample-laden downtempo music often sounding as though produced on malfunctioning equipment excavated from the ruins of an early-'70s computer lab. Geogaddi has a bit less in the way of melodics (the prime factor why Music Has the Right to Children was an immediate classic) and, as a result, sounds slightly less like trip-hop for fairy tales and more like the slightly experimental, but definitely produced, electronic music it is. Still, Boards of Canada surely haven't lost their touch for creating spectral machine music: "1969" is particularly lovely, with starburst synthesizer lines and disembodied vocoders trilling the chorus (the samples apparently originate from a David Koresh follower). For "Sunshine Recorder," a very fitting vocal sample — lifted from a documentary concerning a species of dandelion found by sub-aquatic robots on the ocean floor (and yes, that is Leslie Nielsen narrating) — prefaces the melancholy synth, vocal cut-ups, and glacier-speed basslines. It's clear Boards of Canada labored long to create Geogaddi, since only a tremendous amount of work can produce music that flows so naturally and unobtrusively that it never sounds produced.

Customer Reviews

Beware the Friendly Stranger

I'll never be able to listen to track three again without thinking of Salad Fingers


Another amazing album from Scotland's finest. BoC creates spooky, ethereal soundscapes that can be quite easy to get lost in. Even though some hardcore fans prefer Music Has the Right to Children, BoC's debut, I think Geogaddi is a release that's just as strong. It may not be for the casual listener (some of my friends have described it as "creepy") but if you can do your best to go in with an open mind you'll find some beautiful music. My personal favorites include "Music Is Math" ('the past inside the present'), "Dandelion," "1969" (gotta love the vocoders), "The Beach at Redpoint" (haunting strings), "I Saw Drones," "The Devil Is in the Details," "A is to B...", and "Corsair." However, the album is best listened to all the way through as a complete, 66 minute 6 second trip. I wonder if that length means anything, because the album is EXACTLY that long. 666... If you can get the Japanese import version, there's a bonus track, "From One Source All Things Depend." And on some versions there's another bonus track, "Macquarie Ridge." Both are worth the effort to find. Oh, and check out whose voice gets sampled on "Dandelion." Surely you can't be serious...




Formed: 1996 in Scotland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Boards of Canada are the duo of Michael Sandison (born June 1, 1970) and Marcus Eoin (born July 21, 1971). Based on the northern coast of Scotland, the group got its start on acclaimed experimental electronica label Skam in 1996 after recording an obscene number of tracks and pressing the best of them up as a miniscule-run 12", Twoism, an eight-track promo EP the group sent to labels in lieu of a demonstration tape. The pair's first official release appeared on Skam toward the middle of 1996, and...
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