There was much fervour
surrounding the release of Boards of Canada
's new album, "Geogaddi". Their previous LP
, "Music Has The Right To Children
" had been hailed as a work of sheer perfection
, and thus there was much speculation as to whether the new album would live up to expectations
. Will they take a new angle
altogether, or will it be more of the same
The answer is, after a fashion, 'more of the same' - but not in a bad way. The album is a full 66 minutes and 6 seconds, and - as with MHTRTC - contains both a series of 'song-length' tracks as well as the 'love-em-or-hate-em' short tracks. The overall sound is quite similiar to their earlier releases, but the mood is quite strikingly different.
Whilst MHTRTC tends to be a cloud of childhood reminiscence, Geogaddi has been likened to an adolescent uncertainty. The tracks seem to fit together with more congruence than their previous LP, and the resulting narrative is a lot smoother as a result. One gets the feeling that when the pair put this album together they scrapped what would be, on their own, 'better tracks', for tracks that were a more appropriate fit with the album's mood and style.
The first half hour tends to be a lot lighter than the second. Tracks such as 'Music Is Math' with it's wavering synth harmonies and squelchy beats, 'Sunshine Recorder' conjuring up images of time-stopped sunlight flowing across the countryside, and '1969' which sounds like a dream-interpreted 60's pop song, the message conveyed is overwhelmingly content, perhaps even optimistic.
The latter half of the album really begins with 'The Beach At Redpoint', what sounds to me like an isolated couple's lone beach picnic turned not-quite-sour by a light rain shower. This track also marks the introduction of many more natural sounds, with eastern flutes and vocal samples echoing throughout.
The mood becomes one of simultaneous awe and inner reflection. 'The Devil Is In The Details' is a delicate tapping melody/harmony with footsteps traipsing through puddles, a voice telling us to "Just relax, and enjoy this pleasant adventure." 'Over The Horizon Radar', for me, recalls ideas of technology reflecting nature - backwards synths offset by the gentle clicking of soft bells create a mood unparalelled in any art I've ever experienced. This track is followed by the superb 'Dawn Chorus', which has to be heard to be even vaguely understood. In fact, I think that pretty much goes for every track on the album - I won't waste any more space with my ramblings, trying to decribe a sound, let alone a song, is ridiculous.
Interestingly, the final track of the album is titled 'Magic Window' and contains nothing more than 1:46 of pure silence. It has been suggested that this was to bump the overall playing time up to 66:06. Also there are a number of backward messages throughout the album, on the track 'A Is To B As B Is To C' in particular.
Overall it's just fantastic. At first, devotees of the previous LP will be somewhat displaced, but after a number of attentive listens one becomes enchanted by the pure aural mastery that is Boards of Canada.