Boards Of Canada
The Black Dog
Thanks to John Peel’s long running radio show, we have three new EPs from Warp Records, and all are well worth the nine bucks. Warp has always been on the edge, giving a home to seminal artists like LFO and Aphex Twin, and they continue to provide quality, forward sounds for the chemical generation.
Boards Of Canada’s music is the sound of childhood. Their soft analogue synths and bizarre seventies documentary melodies are like sitting on the floor with a bowl of cereal, awed in innocence by the complexity of the world. The music meanders through beauty and darkness, happiness and fear, all the time maintaining a feeling of childlike fascination. They throw in some very now-sounding beats, though, creating an interface between the past and present, and the result is beautiful. Here we have two slightly reconfigured tracks from their LP, Music Has the Right to Children , plus another track, “Happy Cycling.” The tracks all follow the same structure as the originals, with a few slight alterations, and “Happy Cycling” brings a bit of funk, but they could have stretched a bit and deviated from the album versions some more.
The Black Dog have been around for a while, and their maturity shows. Anyone unfamiliar with this group should check out 1995’s Spanners and the highly underrated Music for Adverts . Delicious abstract synth textures float atop intricate rhythms and baroque style arrangements. Like the best electronic music, the Black Dog sound like no one else, creating their own space that only they can fill.
If Boards Of Canada is like childhood, these guys are wise like adulthood.
The Almighty Autechre come in with three tracks of audio perfection, the sound of perpetual adolescence, music for dreams and dreaming. Recorded in ’95, about the time of the mammoth Tri-Repetae LP, these songs create a new world, a new emotional atmosphere that no one else can touch right now. Milk DX beats you senseless with padded beats and hypnotizes you with skeletal melodies of alien beauty. Inhake 2 brings the funk, sounding like Africa Bambaata ruthlessly remixed by a sarcastic, double-jointed robot tripping on an offshore oil rig. “Drane,” later to be refined and released on the ’98 self-titled LP, is the epic emotional piece here, creating such an atmosphere of beauty that all I can do is get fetal. Scratched and bleeding hi-hats and downhill bass move through a plinky melody and bare drums into a globular, organic cloud world of noise and tweaked frequencies. By the end of the song every molecule in my body is grinning and world peace has been achieved. The Sistine Chapel of sound.