6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2013
wonderfully composed and thought out pieces from one of my favourite bands of all time. I'm already having "Everything you do is a balloon" played at my funeral, albeit for some time yet. The campfire headphase went slightly more acoustic for their last outing which was fine and is nice to experiment with your sounds. However, this instantly feels more like the Classic BOC sounds which are what they do best. I don't know what the people who gave it less stars who claim to be long standing fans are going on about? It's a Boards of canada album so it is going to sound like Boards of canada. They certainly have a distinct sound and this album seems to have heavier percussion on many of the tracks. I also noticed lots of more subtler melodies and rhythms on other songs. Like a fine cheese this matures excellently with age and more listens actually improves the whole experience. You can tell they have deliberately although quite subtly put lots of hidden messages in the album, some of which I may be starting to understand. At the end of the day though these amazing musicians have been and will continue create wonderful, timeless and amazing music. Boards has and will continue to be a wonderful soundtrack to my life and many others. Thank you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I will be honest and admit to having never strayed near the audio shore of Boards of Canada and bought this album on a whim. Being a big fan of Aphex Twin and, to a lesse degree, Future Sound Of London, I knew I would be in fairly safe waters buying this album.
And, seems I called it. The album immediately put me in mind of the Environments albums released by FSOL, incessant, slow burning beats awash with feedback and static-choked murmurrings. It's like AFX without the concomitant weirdness and freak outs, sometimes I want my chill-outs to induce a state of bliss and relaxation, not sweat soaked nightmares that are AFX's specialty.
I can see why some decry this music as boring or background sounds, it takes repeated and concentrated listens to appreciate this for what it is and, having sat through the complete album on many occasions wrapped up in my headphones and being transported away, the sounds have grown on me and I really, really like it. Some of the tunes remind me of Orbital a la' Wonky, albeit with the RPM's dialled down a little.
A very intriguing sound and the accompanying booklet neatly encapsulates the images they are trying to conjure, weird industrial radio towers, blurred figures as seen through the cold eye of a camera sensor, whitewashed abstract scenes, broken signage, all very atmospheric and a good visual invocation of the sounds.
If you like AFX, FSOL, Orbital the Orb etc then this will be right up your street, if you yearn for catchy hooks and pop fluff look elsewhere. Me? I love it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2013
"Perhaps the only album in three years (since 2010's Gorillaz Plastic Beach) that I waited and anticipated for to buy at first release and on hard copy. Scottish electronic music duo bring back their experimental and moody flair with Tomorrow's Harvest, a collection of 17 pieces complementing much of their nostalgic, analogue-sounding cues with more high-definition sound and menace.
The album takes much more a Geogaddi direction in its sound design and mood than Campfire Headphase (which is phenomenal in case the haters deny) and Music Has the Right... At first a hard one to try and grasp as the album acted a bit sluggish and compromising at the beginning, the second try at listening to it was a bit more rewarding which is why I did not automatically give it a 5-star review. Issues of immediacy and variety did arise in the beginning as I heard this album. The beginning with the recently known and very sci-fi-like Reach for the Dead did not kick-start with much surprise or intrigue as An Eagle in Your Mind or Chromakey Dreamcoat (the first ever BoC song I ever heard, in truth).
As I got grasp of much of their signature elements and the funky-psychedelic rhythms, then I started developing my already obsessive interest of the album. Within respected order, Jacquard Causeway (while repetitive, it was still spectacular with much of its Burial-esque drumming pattern), Telepath (clearly BoC from the haunting voice sample and editing), Palace Posy (which sounds like slow-tuned jungle meets French electronica act Deep Forest), Nothing is Real (cheerful, beautifully done, and romantic in a kind of way), New Seeds (calculating and a bit like the Tortoise song, Djed), and the difficult-to-pronounce Semena Merlvykh (a foreboding, extremely well-done orchestral type of piece that could have fitted the Prometheus soundtrack any day and made it more appreciable to its already displeased fans). The artwork is also complementary with some abstract and naturalistic designs of Californian desert, military buildings, and grainy shots of outer San Francisco which are well-done in its 8mm like film but kind of contradictory to their image as either Canadians or Scottish.
The unpredictability and nature vibe is what them interesting in the first place. I got this album for that reason just mentioned and because I am a rather big fan of their work. Thankfully, much of it did not disappoint and they stayed to their guts unlike the increasingly-pop Royksopp and Hot Chip, or the same old, same old Autechre. Thankfully, BoC reign high and strong with their strange melodic standards compared to other musicians who have had long waits from its respected fans like My Bloody Valentine, Daft Punk, and David Bowie."
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2013
First century philosopher (and Roman emperor) Marcus Aurelius had a lot to say about the nature of change. "On death. Either dispersal, if we are atoms: or if we are a unity, extinction or a change of home". (Meditations)
Brian Eno conjures up millennia of change (past, present and future) in a simple, slightly chilling 3 word title: "Before and After Science". Before And After Science
Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse 5 repeats the phrase "so it goes" anytime anything dies. Not a signal of sorrow or mourning, more an acknowledgement of the inevitable. Although maybe there's often a hint at the absurdity at its timing or circumstances.(Slaughterhouse 5, or The Children's Crusade - A Duty-dance with Death)
There are clues as to what this record's about. The title Palace Posy - while on the surface a pleasant image of a 15th century palace and a bunch of flowers - is also an anagram of apocalypse. Semena Mertvykh is a transliteration of the Russian script Семена мертвых, which translates as Seeds of the Dead. (I didn't work these things out for myself by the way, I was told them. No university for G. O'D and no mistake!)
The record doesn't really present us with detail though, and it's all the better for that. There's no explicit nuclear war theme - and who knows, maybe a far-future apocalypse will involve things that are far worse than the dark toys the Manhattan Project dreamed up. The events of August 1945 do kind of cast a shadow over this record though.
Sonically, this is great stuff from end to end and it's the only BoC record I can say that about - not that MHTRTC and Geogaddi didn't have their moments, of course. In fact there are no moments in Tomorrow's Harvest where you hear a great bit of tune that you instantly want to rewind the tape and play again. It's just not that kind of record. At the risk of sounding like a bit of a James Blunt (if I don't already - cheers) this record takes you on a journey. Thermodynamics, the fall of empires, civilisations, entire species - it's all here. And it just about avoids pretension - unlike me.
on 9 August 2013
Seven long years since the Trans Canada Highway EP. Then the strange change on the website 'transmisiones...' and then flickers of news finally giving way to the Boards 4th full album.
I got it over a month ago, and it has not stopped, suiting the unusual still heat of the summer we have been getting. Looking through the sleeve booklet you'll find fairly typical 70's style photos yet most , when thought of as a continuous piece seem to paint a picture of surveillance in a world that seems dusty and shattered.
So the music! Well to say 'brilliant' is too easy. Its great too of course, but not in the way that 'heroes' by bowie is a great song for this is captivating in a whole different way. So different that frankly I'm not sure why its great, only that it is so immersive and its not letting go!
It begins with a 70's style tv broadcast announcement 'jingle' and thrusting us into gemini; with lush bass and radio frequencies, alluding to my theory on the surveillance theme, and at which point 'the campfire headphase' is already a distant dream and I'm nearer to a 'beautiful place out in the country'. Except this is not beautiful, this is dark.
Reach for the dead, has that unmistakeable BoC bass with a rich depth of sound pulsating almost from the heart of the earth itself. This, to me, is one of BoC's most sublime moments; there is much time at the beginning of this track where nothing particularly happens, its all in the tones before the beat and pace picks up then dumps you and leaves you, (well, me anyway) feeling bewildered.
White Cyclosa is a spider apparently, (I didn't know), and here it is coming, creepng up quite fast, and then pounding....
Escape onto 'jacquard causeway' with its throbbing relentless beat and classic Boards sound, distorted yet wonderfully melodic . I could go on, but you should find out for yourself and go on your own journey with it, I don't know where it leads, it hasn't finished with me yet but its the best BoC journey yet.
While Geogaddi has been my favourite album and 'a beautiful place....' my favourite ep this could uproot both. It certainly follows on better from those and perhaps some of 'twoism' and 'music has the right' than the 'campfire...' whch I still struggle with.
So is it all brilliant? Well, I don't particularly like 'palace posy' to the point I don't even know what its doing here, its title and clumsy rhythm jar against my vision of what's going on with this album.... although the track does get better at the end! Cold Earth is standard Boards so it gets no prizes either, but then you get moments of genius like the achingly hauntingly beautiful 'split your infinties', and 'come to dust' amongst others that make it, on balance, brilliant!!
on 18 June 2013
Well, what can I say, 8 years on and my favourite artists are back with an album that I personnelly class as impressive as Geogaddi.
The same as others have said, when the Vinyl day happened in NY and London it went viral online with everyone trying to pick apart what it meant for a new album with all the XXXXXX/XXX....
Soon as I could, I preordered the vinly and CD of course!
After so many listens I am in awe of it, its such a step away from their sound of Geo.. MHT... and The Campfire Headphase, Ep's aside.
Much darker than Geogaddi (without the sound of children laughing or counting) but with a wash over of Music Has The Right To Children easy synths.
The first half has a very low-budget 70's si-fi soundtrack sound to it up to Palace Posy were it charges to a more hopefull sound, like its Tomorrow's Harvest.
8 years is a long long time to wait for an album but it was worth the wait and I look forward to many years of listens to this masterpiece and finding new layers to each track everytime.
Just got the FLAC version from Bleep. try your best to get it too.
I do hope we get more work from them with this new sound in a EP in the next few months. And also I hope they are still working on the BoCset to be released at some point.
PS: Some friends of mine find it very hard to get into BoC, and I have excepted that, even though they are masters at what they do, some people just ddont get them. As one friend said to me, 'you have been listening to them for the best part of 3 decades (1997 to now), you've had a lot of time to listen, it will take a while for me to understand them.'
It shouldnt be that hard to understand what they are trying to get across in each album but I guess he is right, people just dont have the patience to listen to an album and lose themselves in an artists work anymore, guess thats society today for ya.
PSS: Come to Dust is an amazing track!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2013
Having been a little dissapointed with the last BOC album I wasnt that excited despite the minor hype surrounding the new album. After hearing Reach for the Dead however I changed my mind. I know that track and indeed many on the album are not exactly reinventing the wheel but BOC cultivate a unique sound and its nice to hear new material. What I like most is this album seems to be a good mix of the classic BOC sound found on MHTRTC and adds nice bleak B-movie elements. The John Carpenter comparissons are evident but theres also hints of music from old Romero movies and as with all albums of this type multiple plays and decent headphones uncover more layers and textures. All in all a return to form for me although time will tell if it will achieve the same classic status as Music has the right to children.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
There are, I think, some people who may have been hasty in reviewing this album. OK, so "Tomorrow's Harvest" doesn't have the high points of Music Has The Right To Children [New Version], nor does it have its sonic novelty value. But give it time. There is real atmosphere and depth on this record which reveals itself with repeated listens. The concept is implied, not explicit, but would appear to be about the world after some sort of cataclysmic event. A world where nature has taken back hold of Earth but, maybe, where machines and a handful of humans still survive. The music is mildly threatening yet still melodic and compelling. A pessimistic view of the future, to say the least, but a strangely fascinating one. Check out "White Cyclosa" which sounds like some kind of weird requiem for the human race, or "Palace Posy", where the Boards get all Riddley Walker on our asses. That "Tomorrow's Harvest" has a concept of sorts perhaps makes it, for me, a more cohesive listen than The Campfire Headphase or Geogaddi. Then again, revisiting the latter two records now (as this latest release has inspired me to do) they too sound better than ever. Perhaps that was BOC's intention all along?
The 8 year gap between this and their last LP has not been time wasted. Messrs Sandison and Eoin have subtly updated their sound whilst still sounding recognisably like themselves. A gap bridged, and a record that will appear to a wide age range of music fans. A bit of a classic, I think.
Believe the hype - maybe the album of the year.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2013
As soon as this album was even hinted at in the marketing campaign I got excited. Probably too excited. So, as soon as the album was announced I preordered it, and I can tell you that the eight year wait is worth it.
As soon as the album starts you know it's Boards of Canada. Somehow nobody else can sound quite like them. The opening track has a kind of VHS feel to it. 'White Cyclosa' has a drone-like feel that's quite dissonant at times, and a lot of the first half of Tomorrow's Harvest has a similar feel.
'Palace Posy' had a brighter feel to it than all the tracks before it, which is mostly due to the bassline and the rhythm that the drums generate, and this brighter feel carries on through the latter half of the album. Another great track is 'New Seeds' which seems relentless with it's echoed beats and chilled bass. Although choosing a favourite track wouldn't do this album justice, as it's just so good together.
I'm always a fan of judging bands by how good the albums they make are, and Tomorrow's Harvest is certainly greater than the sum of its parts. It's got that omnipresent analogue feel that Boards of Canada do like no one else, and there seems to be more depth to this album than previous releases. Another worthy mention is that the beats are fantastic throughout the album.
This is a great album, and I can't wait to absorb it even more over the coming days. Any Boards of Canada fan will enjoy this album. A definite five stars, and I really hope we don't have to wait another eight years (and I would love to see them tour, but we all know that's sadly unlikely).
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2013
It was worth the long wait for Boards of Canada's Tommorows Harvest. I Found this a superbly haunting collection of downtempoe electronica and ambience making the Geogadi album sound ordinary in comparrison!
Tommorows eccelectic collection of chilling shortcuts are on a dark somewhat macabre theme of synths , eerie gothic chants to medieval stone age tribal drums .The whole experience I found tense and atmospheric a roller coaster pleasent nightmare for a late summer night's sound track to a horror film that could be the future Excorcist theme to Hostel, yet cool enough for the crystal shores and lounges of Ibiza.
BOC's unique electronic downbeats are contempory and owe less to others of there genre such as Air and Zero 7 and more to the vintage electronic sounds of Vangelis and Jean Michelle Jarre. Void of broken beats, trip hop soulful neo vocals and hip hop breaks. All in all Tommorows Harvest is a mindblowing experience and along with the recent Bonobo release Northern Borders my album choice for 2013.