Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Single of the Week: Boards of Canada - "Reach For The Dead"
In all honesty I'm not sure if "Reach For The Dead" is the single best piece of music I've listened to all week. However, as with other Boards of Canada fans there's a certain substance to their music that induces a rush of excitement that no long-winded, "mysterious" advertising campaign can't match. I'm not saying I'm immune to this kind of hype: certainly "listen to Tomorrow's Harvest" has been scribbled over my unconscious like love notes to a girly friend, and I'm not trying too hard to resist setting myself up for disappointment. But that's also because I secretly believe that an album with tracks like "Reach For The Dead" simply won't be one.
With early releases such as Twoism and debut album Music Has The Right To Children (if you've only listen to one electronic album, make it this one) Boards of Canada seemed to extract and remove any trace of human arrangement from their music, presenting their CDs as discarded artefacts from another time: collections of music from advertisements, wildlife documentaries and instructional videos allowed to arrange themselves amongst urban decay. Gradually these urbane influences crept out of BoC's subsequent releases and became more pastoral, even more alien. I'm not sure if "Reach For The Dead" is an extension or a departure from this trajectory. Granted the opening hissy synth drone possesses the same haunting quality that has remained a constant in BoC's music (aided along with stretched out and twisted inhuman voice samples), but the lack of percussive elements throughout the first half of the track make this drone sound freer, perhaps lonelier (illustrated to great effect in deserted scenes of the accompanying music video). When the familiar electronic drums arrive they don't so much as propel the track into a new phase as ground it back into inescapable mechanical reality, a sound and theme so far out of time with Boards of Canada that has always sounded timeless.
Tomorrow's Harvest, the new album by Boards of Canada will be released on the 10th June on Warp Records. Pre-order on Bleep and receive an instant MP3 download of "Reach For The Dead".