Boards of Canada: Geogaddi (Warp)

Their latest release reinforces their place as inventors and purveyors in the electronic music world.

Boards of Canada are twitterpaited. Throughout their career, they have gone out of their way to make structured soundscapes of unparalleled depth and substance. Their latest release reinforces their place as inventors and purveyors in the electronic music world.

Geogaddi is a wonderful collection of ambient, downtempo art. These Scots create blissful, tranquilistic melodies, driven by layered sounds, percussion, and electronic humming. Geogaddi is a systemwide spasm of blips and electronic convulsions. It is an odd concoction, very hard to really isolate or grasp, yet amazing to hear.

Mathematics is a factor here. Perhaps unintentionally, Boards of Canada approach music somewhat geometrically. “Music Is Math,” “You Could Feel The Sky,” and “1969” are shaped, structured, and angled in all sorts of ways. “Dandelion” and “The Devil Is in the Details” are amazing.

There is a lot to hear on Geogaddi; linear, conical, and evolving, it is never the same album twice. All told, there are 23 “pieces” to this kaleidoscope of intricacy, the best of which is the shimmering “Dawn Chorus.”

Geogaddi is fragile and intricate. BOC don’t fall prey to the often pragmatic electronic sterotypical pitfall of having songs meander aimlessly; rather, they know how to end songs. They measure the length of each piece carefully, never overdoing or over dubbing our senses. Some, like the opening “Ready Lets Go,” are brief and to the point. Others, like “Alpha and Omega,” sprawl onward and develop into wonderful things. This only accentuates the fact that Boards of Canada are artisans.

Obviously, this album transgresses all the rules of music. It is filmic, expansive, divergent, lush, and frustratingly hard to pin down. But mostly, it is an enjoyable album. Geogaddi is the first amazing record of 2002.

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