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Boards of Canada

Our critics' picks in new releases


It's been nearly five years since Marcus Eoin and Michael Sandison (aka Boards of Canada) released their groundbreaking dream-beat record, Music Has the Right to Children. While the disc's samples of kids playing and down-tempo beauty wooed lovers of drone guitar bands (such as My Bloody Valentine) and beat heads alike, the duo have since shown admirable restraint in reaching for any brass rings. In the meantime--Geogaddi's release has been as unrushed as each of the slowly blossoming tracks they lay down--speculation flew as to whether the mysterious duo was experiencing a sophomore slump or was venturing into uncharted territory.

Though the album's warm, inviting washes of colored tones and percussion aren't light years away from their debut, they certainly please on all levels, and Eoin and Sandison's love of film is again apparent. (Their name is derived from the bucolic 1970s-era documentaries of the National Film Board of Canada.) Over the record's sprawling 65-minute(!) span, the longer, "song"-structured tracks like "Alpha and Omega" and "1969," or the depth-charges of "You Could Feel The Sky," are peppered with little voiceovers (check out the vintage canned Leslie Nielsen discussing volcanoes on "Dandelion") and blurred snapshots ("Diving Station"). This setup creates shifts in mood that make the album sound more like a film score than something you'd hear in dance club chill-out rooms. The natural tangibility of their sound thankfully remains--feeding original source recordings through old tape recorders, analog synthesizers and other vintage gear. And it's this lack of complete submission to cold computers--by retaining central human elements--that makes them so accessible to electronica neophytes, and so gigantic on the blissed-out landscape. Essential.

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