Album: Boards of Canada, Tomorrow's Harvest (Warp)
Saturday 08 June 2013
Having cultivated a devoted following and an aura of mystical reclusion, Boards of Canada went silent seven years ago.
So how could they hope to meet the feverish expectation that has been building since the confirmation of their fourth album's existence? Well, by delivering what we wanted: more of the same; a record that (and this is less common than makers of instrumental electronica would wish) is instantly and unmistakably identifiable as their own.
It begins with a cheeky fanfare, but then it's familiar woozy ambience and lolloping, if complex, beats all the way.
Their resolutely analogue studio gear, Polaroid artwork and distorted samples of kids' voices still evoke hazy childhood memories. But in place of cozy nostalgia there's an acknowledgment that childhood is laced with anxiety. If the music had visual reference points they wouldn't be vintage educational programmes this time but nuclear-paranoia films such as When the Wind Blows.
Don't be put off by overly gloomy readings of Tomorrow's Harvest, though. There is joy in these grooves; the attentive care of studio perfectionists, and the warm embrace of an old friend.
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