What follows is a satirical review I posted to my old angryrobot.net blog sometime before release of the third Boards of Canada album.
August 12, 2005
Boards Of Canada - The Campfire Headphase
It’s a special Friday bonus. I scored a promo copy of the BOC album (can’t say from where). Last night I sat down and gave it a careful listen and made some quick notes to share with you all. Normally, I wouldn’t review an album after only a single listen, but I felt it was important to get this out there fast. I didn’t exactly have the time to put together one of my normal reviews, so I’ve resorted to the time-honored track-by-track commentary. Forgive me, and enjoy.
Into the Rainbow Vein
Just a short little ambient-ish piano intro. It’s nothing much, really, but it does ease you into the magical, pastoral world of BOC.
Ah, here we go. Mid-tempo shuffling beats, childlike synth melody, gauzy ambience. Totally classic Boards!! Keep your ears open, because you are probably going to hear this in a commercial selling shampoo or mutual funds.
Satellite Anthem Icarus
Icarus flew too close to the sun and paid the price for his youthful hubris, but BOC scream across the sky like a satellite with this one. The tempo here is super-quick, for BOC. If this doesn’t make you dance, it’ll at least get your head bobbing really fast.
Sorry, I didn’t jot down any notes for this one. I was dancing around the room during the last song and accidentally knocked over a really expensive glass figurine. By the time I cleaned up the mess, the song was over. I’d say it was very pastoral, though. And oddly appropriate for sweeping up glass shards, somehow.
Don’t panic! There’s nothing western sounding at all about this one. I guess the title is supposed to be ironic. There’s some out-of-tune, warped synth line, and samples of some guy talking about some sort of industrial manufacturing process.
A Moment of Clarity
Just that. A short interlude before…
‘84 Pontiac Dream
You know how when you see car ads in magazines the lighting always looks amazing? That’s exactly how this track sounds, like light hitting a polished surface and reflecting out in all directions. About half way in, a steady 4/4 beat starts up and won’t let you go. I guess this could be driving music for techno freaks.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think this track is just “Chromakey Dreamcoat” played backwards. I’ll have to get it onto my PowerBook and test out that theory.
Oscar See Through Red Eye
Okay, this is a bit unexpected. I don’t think I would have guessed this was BOC if I heard it on the radio (like that’s ever going to happen!). This one sounds more like Aphex or Squarepusher. Crazy drums, and some repeating sample of a kid saying “Sunday” over and over again. Or it could be “Sundae,” like the tasty ice cream treat. Either way, the whole thing is creepy.
When I first read this track title, I thought it said “Atari” instead of “Ataro.” I was really hoping it was going to have some classic 2600 sound f/x, like maybe from Yar’s Revenge or Megamania. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. As it turns out, the track is more classic, pastoral BOC. All the beats and melodies you’ve come to love, and expect.
Hey Saturday Sun
You’re nine years old. It’s early Saturday morning, just before the sun comes up. You are giddy with anticipation for your early morning cartoons. You sit in front of the silent television, nervously munching on dry Count Chocula. Suddenly, a lone beam of sunlight breaks through the orange curtains, casting a hazy beam of light across the room, illuminating weightless dust motes in their normally invisible mid-air ballet. Childhood.
Constants Are Changing
Mid-tempo shuffling beats, childlike synth melody, gauzy ambience. Totally classic Boards!!
Slow This Bird Down
I swear, BOC could get rich licensing these tracks for commercials and movie soundtracks. The synth melody here is so catchy, I know this is going to end up on endless repeat on my iPod.
Tears From The Compound Eye
Starts off with a simple ambient intro. At about the 23 second mark, a second, warbling synth line comes in. At the 1 minute and 45 second mark, a to-die-for broken hip-hop beat takes over. You’ll wish it never stopped, but at approximately 3 minutes into the track, the beat vanishes without warning and a children’s choir takes over. The choir lasts through the rest of the song, but is joined about 37 seconds before the end by a slowly rising orchestral synth wash. Beautiful stuff.
And we come to the end of the album. A looped sample of a crackling campfire, set against pastoral synths.
(Secret Hidden Track)
I’m not telling…