Boards of Canada
Music Has The Right To Children
Warp Records 1998
Armed with an array of tape recorders and influences stretching back to the 1970s, Boards of Canada emerged on the worldwide scene with Music Has The Right To Children after an exclusive run of home grown productions reserved for the few who were in the know. Abstractly formed and choppy Twoism EP was their first major exhibit, after being spotted by Autechre's Sean Booth, record producer in his own right, decided to release High Scores EP which features the Skam label's favourite tracks. This however being branded accessible, didn't make major news. It did, though, open the gates to bigger and better things, a full length release, namely “Music Has The Right To Children”.
The crystal shimmering of sound that is reproduced when warming up the frequencies with organic recording methods found in devices such as Grundig tape machines when used to sample dated UHF transmissions is perhaps the magic ingredient. Boards of Canada seem to know exactly which part is the spine tingler, they pin-point that key motif which captivates the multiple senses of nostalgia, producing loving glows and whimsy fantasies of the moment.
Wildlife Analysis opens the album with a melody, played to a drone which hides inside the scale beautifully. The piece is only meant to tickle our eardrums as within ninety seconds it is fading and setting the scene for the second movement. Ambient yet somehow poignant synths begin to whirlwind in slow motion around an ever growing rhythm, which after 4 or 8 bars (depending on your mindfulness) begins to play out loud. More layers build, ghostly voices, bells and rhythm fills encapsulate the feeling of being somewhere else, probably a long time ago.
It is at this point that we realise this is not a typical music album. The emotive quality of the sounds on offer are rooted deeply in audio experience, the rhythms and scalings only serve as archaic reminders that once upon a time, albums had songs. Crafty electronica grooves surround sandwiches of oddity and savoury fillers which bite after bite, make morsel for the ears. A truly artistic piece of work, the children that are born of music are an odd yet undoubtedly endearing bunch. This one, which is attempting to figurehead the experimental music movement, is actually one of my favourites. Well done, son.
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