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Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp)

Following a six year hiatus, Edinburgh’s sibling duo Boards of Canada’s new album is here. As returns go they made a rather stellar job of keeping things under wraps and creating a buzz. Record Store Day 2013 saw the appearance of a cryptic Boards of Canada vinyl, complete with part of a numerical Hangman style puzzle, sending fans off on a hunt for others in an attempt to piece together the clues which eventually proved to be a code confirming a new release was imminent.

In this day and age real buzz is not easy to come by. No sooner has an artist announced new material than its available in numerous versions, legal or otherwise, via the internet. The build up to Tomorrow’s Harvest release was somewhat of a master class and everything from the cryptic codes, to the rather odd decision to run an ad on the children’s cartoon channel Toonami built up the anticipation for this release to levels usually associated with superstar acts.

Tomorrow’s Harvest from the very outset is a different beast from the rest of BoC’s back catalogue. The sounds are more paranoid than usual and there’s an overriding feeling that things are not quite right. There’s more anxiety and the textured synths and beats which are less prominent, make for an even more claustrophobic listen this time round. If previous albums were the soundtrack to the great outdoors, this album is the soundtrack to a once overpopulated, polluted cityscape. Even the track names point to apocalyptic chaos; Reach For The Dead, Cold Earth, Sick Times, Collapse, Sundown and so on.

If any evidence was needed that the art of the album is still very much alive and well Tomorrow’s Harvest is a shining example, listened to from start to finish is exactly how it’s meant to be enjoyed. A soundscape for the listener to escape for the duration, not a collection of disposable three minute pop songs. Each track is designed to be enjoyed as a collection and the production, as ever, is incredible.

It’s not an entirely desolate collection of tracks though, there’s also moments of sunshine within the album, but this time around these are overshadowed by the anxiety. Single Reach for the Dead is probably the closest thing resembling a song, still a textured soundscape but there’s more structure to it than the rest of the tracks. White Cyclosa for me is the overall highlight. Windy field recording with a beautifully paranoid stabbing synth, looped over a low-end string gives way to the tracks sunnier refrain. If this was the sound of the end of the world I don’t know if I would have a problem accepting it.

Possibly not their best work to date but definitely an evolution for the duo and an excellent return. There’s plenty of other bands creating soundtrack type music these days, The XX or The Chromatics to name a couple, but BoC have come back fighting with Tomorrow’s Harvest and showed they still do soundscaped escape music best. It’s also an album in which you can continue to find new sounds and needs given time to absorb fully and really get to grips with. Lie back, put the headphones on and let Boards of Canada take you somewhere.





God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.