on 19 February 2002
The latest release from Boards of Canada without doubt confirms the duo as one of the most original and equilibristic acts on the electronica scene. The 23 track-album is saturated with the unique BOC dream-like ambient feeling that reaches deeply into the listener's register of feelings and imagination. The sampled sound-collages and soothing beats often produce a kind of surreal atmosphere which is both relaxing, melancholic, and a bit disqueting as if confronted with something you have heard before in a distant past but can't really recognize. This surely has to do with the brilliant craftmanship and personal sound of the album where the manipulated samples of seemingly forgotten bits of melodies, lost voices and radio-static are mixed with soft and blurry retro-synths in a most well-balanced manner. The music is not avant-garde or experimental but has the rare quality of being both immediately accessible and highly original at the same time. It is the kind of album that conjures up deep emotions and reminds you of lost moments and impressions in a kaleidoscopic and magic mixture. Geogaddi simply takes this sort of electronic music to a new level.
on 20 February 2002
From the opening tracks, it is obvious that BOC have based this album on cuts from their last album 'Music Has The Right To Children'. A lot of the instrument samples and loops are carried over, and it would seem that some of the voice samples used, have been carried from the same sources used before (it sounds like weekday morning educational tv programmes from the 1970s, especially on tracks like 'Dandelion')
One thing BOC is notable for, is the way that time seems to slow down while the album is listened to. The longer 'full-length' tracks seem to go on for longer than they actually are, which is by no means a bad thing. Throughout the album, the music shifts and changes constantly, allbeit very slowly. Slowly enough, that it's easy to miss the transitions entirely without some careful listening.
The album comes across as child-like, characterised at first by the (limited edition) cardboard slip-case, which is styled like a childs picture book, with big, bold colouring and shapes. This goes hand-in-hand with the children's voices that appear on many of the tracks here.
The slow, methodical layering of sounds created by BOC, is just what you need after a long day, with its' 'soft rounded edges' sound, and graceful, powerful soothing effect - especially when played quietly - is almost enough to send you to sleep. This is what is meant by 'chill-out' music, not the down-tempo trance that's been churned out by the Ibiza cash factory.
If you bought Music Has... , then you should buy this. It's similar enough, yet different enough to warrant ownership. Who knows, listening to
the educational samples, you may even learn something in the process!
on 21 February 2002
It is bizarre that Boards of Canada, although undeniably excellent, should be singled out as the reclusive pioneers of modern music that an increasingly over-zealous congnoscenti have portrayed them as. They've not exactly shifted platinum levels of units, but their debut EP is now worth as much as £800 to collectors. Their music is actually less successful in breaking new ground than it is in assimilating a whole host of seemingly disparate ideas. In a similar way to its highly acclaimed predecessor, 'Geogaddi' takes the drones and intensifying repetition of post-rock and applies it neatly to the electronica landscape. In effect, 'Geogaddi' is an improved version of the initial BOC template - more accessible, more varied and highly impressive.
In a musical world increasingly dominated by bland chill-out background music, 'Geogaddi' is a breath of fresh air. This is often mellow and relaxed, but also strange, uncompromising and oddly sinister. The samples of children's voices are still there - and this contributes much to the overall effect, but this time the sounds are also disorientating and chilling. 'Gyroscope' is a great example of where BOC are most successful, with off-kilter beats and repetetive drones creating an edgy, unnerving effect. At its most nasty and intense, 'Geogaddi' demands attention. It is a captivating, demanding and stirring listening experience.
It is likely that BOC's reclusiveness will preclude any promotional singles emerging - but there are actually plenty of potential candidates here. '1969' - complete with eerie samples and messed-up vocal effects is fantastic, and the relentless, alarmingly beautiful 'Dawn Chorus' is equally successful.
Ultimately, the formulaic structure of 'Geogaddi' serves to undermine its impact, particularly over the course of 66 minutes. Short bursts of noise break up the otherwise effortless flow of the lengthier tracks. Sometimes they are highly successful, but at others they just seem a little aimless. It might have been better to sequence the tracks in a more unpredictable arrangement, to underline the capacity of this music to surprise and disorientate.
No doubt this album will be describes as mellow or chilled - but it is much more intense and thoughtful than such language implies. The gradual build up of layers of noise has become a BOC trademark, but they use it repeatedly to remarkable effect here. It served as perfect evidence against detractors who claim that modern electronica is cold and emotionally detached.This music reaches both head and heart. This is one of the essential electronica albums of the year and a grower too. Right now - BOC are proving more than capable of justifying the feverish praise and expectation thrown at them.
on 27 January 2005
My first BoC album bought around July last year along with Music Has The Right To Children, recommended by a friend. The latter being also a great album but Geogaddi has by far grasped my attention. It features a great number of tracks with short "interlude" tracks beautifully transitioning between the longer tracks.
Boards Of Canada is quite a unique musical style (bears a resemblance to Electroacoustic style composition and synthesized but calm Dance in some tracks) which may not appeal to some people but it does overall have a great relaxing, easy going feel and even though some tracks feature quite a lot of activity in the background this blends itself effectively into the whole atmosphere of the piece whilst not giving the track a rushed appearance (as high activity over short periods can very frequently do).
My particular favourites on this album are Sunshine Recorder and Beach At Redpoint, which has an excellent setting and some great timbres and rhythms but even then the majority of the remaining tracks are all still superb listening and are rated just as highly.
on 23 April 2002
Surely one of the albums of the year, and most likely one of the electronica albums of the decade. Beautiful and otherworldy, this can be a poignant and stirring album but also a harsh and austere album. Melodies seemingly plucked from the outer-atmosphere played on synthesizers sounding like they were constructed by martians. For some listeners, this is a highly impersonal album, but I think it can be a very personal album, not of the artists, but of the listener. Boards of Canada's music unlocks memories of your childhood and, more importantly, the fears and wonders you had when you were a child. Listen to it with the lights off with earphones, and you'll know what I mean. Hallucinogenic, nauseating, claustrophobic, gorgeous and outlandish, this is one of those few records than can take you to a whole other place for its duration and then make you want to repeat, repeat, repeat.
on 8 June 2002
i was intrigued by the fact that people compared this album to my bloody valentine of whom i'm a massive fan. i also had dim memories of having music has the right to children played to me by an ex-girlfriend and thinking it was good then forgetting all about it. this album is one of the most stunningly original beautiful emotional transcendental pieces of music i've heard for a long time. it will probably be in my top 3 albums of this year and i would recommend it to anyone. it's a real 'headphones' album and as one of the other reviewers said it repays deeper listening - like the very quiet vocoderised voices whispering 'take my hand' at the end of 'opening the mouth'. this is NOT background music. this is stunning and completely diverting. i also recommend trying to get one of the promotional kaleidoscopes from the warp website and looking through it as you listen because it's an album that seems very visual - if that makes any sense at all. just buy it - if you're here browsing then you must already be intrigued and i promise you you will NOT be disappointed.
on 9 March 2006
It's hard to define boards of Canada's music, because it changes so often. Now Geogaddi is a brilliant album, not just a collection of songs, but a subliminally disturbing work of art. It's hard to name one song as the best, because you can only get the real effect by listening to the whole thing. When most people hear the words "disturbing music" or "depressing music", they'll usually think of some gothic band or a band with lots of shouting and swearing, but this album has a hidden depth to it, and leaves you with a strange feeling. It starts off with some weird and quite catchy songs, but slowly gets darker, and then you hit "The Devil Is In The Details" which is where the album changes, it starts calming down, but also getting more confused, and sad, "dawn chorus" is quite intense, then "You Could Feel The Sky" slowly relaxes the album, but still maintains the spooky feel, and "Corsair" leaves you wondering what you thought of the album, you know you liked it but you feel sad. Basically, it's great, but you only hear the real weirdness after "I Saw Drones", up until then I CAN be kind of repetitive if you don't listen carefuly enough, either way it's all very suttle, but builds, if you arnet a fan of electronic/ambient music or your mind isn't open, I wouldn't buy this, because you'll be embarrassed to listen to it, but this isn't one of those boring albums made for the money, it's not a scramble through a hard drive of old songs to make a quick buck, it's truly original stuff and worth the money.
on 5 February 2002
It's like that "Blur" track they're sending to the Red Planet has already been beamed back, along with 23 new ones - this is summer as seen through the eyes of something not human. Never straying too far from the MHTRTC formula of hip-hopish beats and lush synth patterns yet managing to sound for the most part entirely different - Geogaddi is the strangest, most hypnotic, joyous and plain beautiful album that you're likely to find this year. Each track flows languorously into the next without a hint of urgency. There's too much going on here to write down in words, but from the familiarly warbled child voices on "Gyroscope" & "Sunshine Recorder" to the vocodered vox on the oh-so-good "1969" (which sound like a robot pining for their lover) Geogaddi is just more lovely lovely stuff from BoC who again make me feel proud to be breathing the same air as them
Probably. Hate to classify, but... you know how it is. If you've heard 'Music Has A Right To Children', then you'd be right to expect this to sit in much the same ball-park; but only in the way that, say, a Beatles or Aphex Twin abum varies from one to another. Boards of Canada have a 'sound' - ooh, more lovely pigeonholes - and they're not afraid to use it. The child vocals are still here, plus the strangely psychedelic atmosphere and building layers, not to mention the dozens of one or two minute tracks that despite their lengths refuse to be classified as fillers.
But, at the same time, this album does vary from the previous output I have heard. It seems much more accessible than 'Music...' (for example, a mate of mine who is into the diabolical Phil Collins and the like was walking past my window whilst I was listening to it, and actually said it sounded really good. He then went on to devalue the comment somewhat by saying that it would be even better under the influence of something mind-altering... which, I suppose, is true). And the music is still growing on me even after I got to like it so quickly, which has to be a good thing... right? It has been widely noted that the album has suggestions of darkness lurking behind its seemingly benign air (note the hint of a recurring skull in the apparently hippy-in-a-kaleidoskope cover), and this is also true. The tracks are sprinkled with some quite crunchy, dirty beats; the melodies are often quite haunting; and there are a few stunts pulled to make the music sound in turns off-kilter or even queaze-inducing (for example, the screwy pitchshifter applied to 'the smallest weird number', that transforms it from stolid 'pieces in a classical style'-esque innoffensive chillout to quaintly beautiful little oddity in one 'easy' step).
Standout in my mind is '1969', most accessible track probably 'music is math'. Buy this if you like...
buy this if you like...
Buy this if you like Boards of Canada. If you do, you'll probably love this. Otherwise, find someone who owns this, listen to it, then see if you like it. Or buy this if you like relaxing music and are looking for something with a bit more depth, listening value, shelf life, whatever. I should suggest that you buy this if you like good music,but that's a cliché, so I won't.
Buy this if you like excellent music.
on 1 April 2006
Secret listening stations, isolated towers on remote islands festooned with radar, sheep that glow in the dark?
From the start the cut up drum and voice loops, intertwined with waves of swooshing synthesiser, set the scene for a journey into cold war paranoia.
This really is electronic music at its very best. If Tangerine Dream had fused with Cabaret Voltaire around 1985 I'd like to think they would have sounded something like this.