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.
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