Boards Of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest 2xLP
Boards Of Canada have never deviated much from what they're best at: well composed and structured melodies that have a worn, warm and warbled sense of nostalgia. Aged library sounds, abstract organic design and educational nature film scores were often the heart of the bands reference points. So it's 2013 and we finally have a brand new record and it's definitely their most mature and complex record to date. While it has certain touchstones that make it sound distinctly like a Boards Of Canada record, the feel overall is much darker, tense and moodier, reading like a score to some environmental science fiction film like Idaho Transfer or Phase IV (or more recently, Beyond The Black Rainbow!). Even the album title and the cover shot (of San Francisco, taken from the Alameda Naval Shipyards) gives off a Soylent Green vibe. The nostalgic quality that permeates the band's sound has a more toxic feel this time around too, as if hearkening back to a place now poisoned, a kind of daylight horror dread.
The opening track, "Gemini" starts out with a crackly filmstrip fanfare like from some old seventies educational film, and that sort of faded, gristly, sci-fi vibe pervades throughout the first track, a dark, blurred, fuzzy field of pulsing synths and ominous atmospheres, it's immediately evident, that the new Boards Of Canada is a much darker beast than the group who brought us the pastoral, autumnal Music Has The Right To Children. Boards Of Canada fuses the old loping, meandering beat driven dreaminess to something a shade darker. Some tracks locked into tranced out smoldering grooves, draped in chiming softly distorted melodies, others, brooding menacingly, some peppered with creepy processed voices, only adding to the seventies creepy sci-fi/horror flick vibe. Others blossom into time-lapse slow motion sprawling expanses of experimental rhythmic textures, shifting dreamily, tonal colors bleeding into each other, woozily prismatic, like the music from some old crumbling, planetarium show. While the old Boards Of Canada sound surfaces throughout, Tomorrow's Harvest, definitely exists in a much bleaker soundworld. These sounds the score to a future world scorched and barren, a world of faded memories of what once was, and what could have been, had it not all gone terribly wrong.