Boards Of Canada

Boards Of Canada



Boards Of Canada is supposed to be the “melodic” IDM (intelligent dance music) group. Imagine! A musical genre where having a melody sets you apart from the pack! (Oh, wait, that could apply to any genre these days.) This rep is based on their critically-splooged-over debut album, Music Has the Right to Children, which did have some actual melodic moments, but is almost four years old now. Now it’s time for their sophomore disc. Is it any good? Sure. Does it break any new ground? Um… that depends.

Sixty-six minutes and six seconds. That’s how long it takes this disc from drony opener “Ready Lets Go” to silent closer “Magic Window.” In between, you get Boards Of Canada action like you wouldn’t believe: creepy sampled sexvocals on “Gyroscope,” fake hippie nostalgiac noises on “1969,” satanic mutterings in the electronic hedgerow on “The Devil is in the Details.” It’s all as beautiful as hell, except when it’s being ugly — geez, though, even then it’s still kinda beautiful. All in all, it’s a better-sounding album than Druqks or Squarepusher or Confield, and it ups BoC’s mess-with-the-listener factor by about ten, so they’re still in the IDM game with a vengeance.

Understand, though, that IDM isn’t necessarily supposed to be about “better-sounding.” It’s supposed to push boundaries of what electronic music can do. One of the reasons I loved last year’s releases from Squarepusher and Autechre was that they were so anti-beautiful, so raw and out of control. Geogaddi is firmly in control, and even adorable and cuddly in places; the way “Over the Horizon Radar” melts into the tripartite technodirge of “Dawn Chorus” is like the way a summer popsicle melts on your hand and you don’t even mind. They can distort their synthesizer soul all they want, but BoC is above all else a band that likes the pretty. And if pretty is what you need, this has it.

Me? I’m a little tired of the pretty.

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