Review: Widely regarded as Boards of Canada's finest hour, Music Has The Right To Children finds itself the subject of a well-deserved 2LP gatefold reissue from Warp Records. One of the most defining records of what was known for better or worse as IDM still sounds as timeless as it did in 1998, as the library tones of "Wildlife Analysis", thick downtempo rhythms of "Roygbiv" and out of focus melodies of "Olson" prove. Essential!
Review: When it comes to a reissue such as this it can't be understated just how arresting the work of Boards of Canada can be in the right situation. This EP, that came to light in between Music Has The Right To Children and Geogaddi, represents the enigmatic duo at their most powerful, channeling their energy into four long-form tracks that draw on all of their combined strengths. "Kid For Today" is haunting and dark but utterly heartbreaking, whilst "Amo Bishop Roden" heads into more mysterious territory. "In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country" is eerie in its titular invitation to join a cult, and "Zoetrope" tips its hat to Terry Riley et al in its looping phrases, but really there's no describing the magnificence of these gems, pleasingly reissued on vinyl to beat the Discogs chancers.
Review: Warp's Boards of Canada reissue campaign reaches Geogaddi, perhaps the duo's most expansive (if not their most popular) record, presented here on a 3LP gatefold edition. Considerably darker than its predecessor Music Has The Right To Children, the claustrophobic sounds of "Gyroscope" and sampled spoken word in tracks like "Dandelion" and "Energy Warning" present a somewhat dystopian setting, filled with unsettling sounds, such as the light but eerie melodies of "Alpha & Omega" and "1969". Undoubtedly one deserving of reappraisal.
Review: Given that it's been eight years since the last Boards of Canada album, Tomorrow's Harvest should, by rights, push Daft Punk's Random Access Memories in the hype stakes. Certainly, it's a fine set. During their sabbatical, Marcus Eoin and Michael Sandison have lost none of their power to amaze and impress. Chords drone, samples hiss, synths shimmer and beats swing. There are intense ambient moments and intoxicating, post-IDM dreamscapes. It is in turns icy, warm, introspective and blindingly picturesque. Throughout, Tomorrow's Harvest is impeccably atmospheric, conjuring images of windswept Scottish moors, becalmed Cornish bays and maudlin pagan ceremonies. As comeback records go, it's pretty darn good.
Review: Five years on from their last full-length excursion, Darkstar return with "Civic Jams", a socio-politically charged set that Warp says was influenced by two decidedly disparate musical inspirations: the opaque, slowly shfiting sonic density pf shoegaze, and 30 years of the British bass music continuum. In practice, that means a striking fusion of tactile vocals, drowsy electronics, wall-of-sound chords and crunchy, off-kilter rhythms that tip a wink to hip-hop, grime, dubstep, breakbeat and more, while never sounding specifically like any of them. It's not a club-focused set, but it an undeniably impactful one, primarily because its inherent bittersweet beauty and weary melancholia seems in tune with these unusual, claustrophobic times.
Review: Having delivered a seventh studio album of a long and productive career as Nightmares On Wax last year, George Evelyn has been treated to the full retrospective programme by Warp in 2014. Earlier this year the label issued a best of, artfully punned NOW Is The Time, this week has seen Warp reissue in deluxe format all of Evelyn's six previous and widely loved long players. All of them are in stock at Juno and worthy of your time, though Carboot Soul is a particular favourite amongst the review team here. The Quincy Jones sample on opener "La Nuit" never sounded so good!