30 days of music, except only Boards of Canada: day 20.

Boards of Canada Live at The Incredible Warp Lighthouse Party, 14 October 2000

I don't really associate anger and music, but I get the idea: this is supposed to be either something calming or angry-sounding. Let's go with calming.

So far, I've overlooked BoC's really short songs. That's a mistake, because there are so many good ones. When I talk about BoC melodies sounding archetypal, I'm talking about melodies like Olson. This is early BoC at their most straightforwardly BoC-ish, and it's absolutely beautiful. Another one for my funeral, if you please.

Picture is semi-related: Boc playing at The Incredible Warp Lighthouse Party, 14 October 2000, between the releases of Music Has The Right to Children (on which Olson appears) and Geogaddi.

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30 days of music, but only Boards of Canada songs—day 19!

Busy weekend, so three (three!) today. My favourite album? Tough one, but Geogaddi. It's not one I turn to for easy listening, but it's my go-to for active listening and the one I admire the most.

So it's a good time for Sunshine Recorder, one of my favourite bits of BoC. This took a few years to grow on me, as my early preference for radiant BoC made way for bleaker BoC. It's a glimpse of what was to come two albums later on Tomorrow's Harvest. Sublime.

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30 days of music, except only Boards of Canada, day 18. I think this means a song that doesn't get played on the radio, but should. But I choose to interpret this to mean a rare song once heard on the radio, but which I missed.

Boards of Canada – Peel Session

It's no longer rare, thanks to its addition to a re-release many years later, but: XYZ.

Boards of Canada played out with this on their John Peel session in 1998, but it was excluded from the subsequent Peel Session release, perhaps because its sampling of It Would Be Like Samoa by Edgar Froese wasn't cleared.

I wish I'd heard the Peel Session at the time. It's a brilliant track, but it also has what I think is uniquely-rare audio of a Boards of Canada interview, which can be heard via that link thanks to, once again, Boc Pages. (Scroll down to the interview section.)

It was included on the 2019 reissue, though, so you can hear it in its unusually-fast and yet psychedelic glory.

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30 days of music but only Boards of Canada, day 17.

A frame from the official video of Reach For The Dead by Boards of Canada

Strange to think that it's now more than 10 years since the release of BoC's most recent LP, Tomorrow's Harvest. (Though with tweaks to their social media bios at the moment, fans are hopeful.)

I recall at the time hearing Reach For The Dead a fair bit on BBC radio, though to this day I didn't realise it had an official video. This exercise has been worth it for that discovery alone.

Brilliantly bleak and atmospheric. An excellent song from an excellent album.

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30 days of music, but only boards of Canada. Day 16: over half way.

Boards of Canada – Music Has The Right To Children

Again, I don't hate any BoC music in the way I hate music by, say, Lighthouse Family. But there are some songs I listen to less than I did.

That's true of everything on their first album proper, Music Has The Right To Children. For many, it's still their best album, and though I might argue, I wouldn't die on that hill.

Even when I did listen, Pete Standing Alone passed me by more than it should. Excellent vintage BoC. Synths like a mountain spring. Drums crunchier than a corporate game studio. Archetypal BoC melodies. And yet another great track name. Pete Standing was a real person.

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30 days of music, except Boards of Canada, day 15.

The sleeve art of Boards of Canada – Twoism depicts two futuristic motor racers in an embrace

Sir Prancelot Brainfire stands out, but since I've done that already, let's go with: Twoism.

From their 1995 EP of the same name, initially self-released in a limited edition run.

Bridging the gap between their unreleased early stuff and Music Has The Right to Children, Twoism is one of my favourite BoC records; as is Hi Scores from the same period. (The two merge into one in my memory.)

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30 days of music, except just Boards of Canada songs. Day 14.

Boards of Canada – In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country

Ah, now this one is harder, and I see no obvious way to cheat. I don't expect anyone is interested in where my tastes begin and end—not even me. It's the music that's interesting.

But, let's say: Amo Bishop Roden from the EP In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country. This shares a thematic link with 1969 which I'll again leave to BoC Pages to explain.

I don't think anyone would be surprised I like this musically. But this is where BoC's points of reference may be difficult for some, if you take them seriously (a big if).

Before there was BoC Pages, there was a lovely web page titled What the hell is up with Boards of Canada? (still available on that neatly collected the cryptic references of BoC's music from the Geogaddi and In A Beautiful Place era.

To my mind, these references are little more than fun easter eggs for the careful listener.

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30 days of music, but just Boards of Canada songs, day 13: a song that is a guilty pleasure.

Oh go on then: Sir Prancelot Brainfire. Based on the theme of the BBC's Adventures of Sir Prancelot, except it samples not the original theme but a version by the Piccadilly Players (thanks, Boc Pages).

Listen on YouTube.

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30 days of music, but only Boards of Canada. Day 12: a song from a band I hate. We finally enter remix territory.

AI-created: Here's the image encapsulating the unique moment when Boards of Canada specified they would only accept remix requests from "God or Beck," leading to their remix of Beck's Broken Drum. This whimsical and surreal scene captures the spirit of this moment, blending celestial elements with the iconic sound of Boards of Canada.

While recording The Campfire Headphase, BoC famously told their label to turn down all remix requests “unless they were from God or Beck.” Beck came knocking a short time later. (Pictured above is DALL-E/GPT-4's attempt to capture this moment.)

I don't hate Beck, but I did harbour a lingering distaste for his popular output of what I think of as the Devils Haircut era. But I know his music is revered by people wise enough to know about these things (BoC included) so I have cultivated a more open mind, though not to the point that I seek him out.

Of course a BoC remix is the exception to this rule, hence the excellent: Broken Drum – Remixed by Boards of Canada. Again, if only BoC had worked with more singers here and there.

Note: Spotify user tom.dp has compiled a playlist of all 22 Boards of Canada remixes available on Spotify.

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30 Days of Music, except only Boards of Canada, day 11.

Boards of Canada – Tomorrow's Harvest

Let's not try anything clever. This is a chance to share a BoC song I really like that might not fit future criteria: Palace Posy.

This is an odd one, even by BoC norms. A song of two halves. The first, while sounding like them, doesn't work for me at all. That might be BoC toying with is, or there may be a layer of subterranean brilliance I'm yet to unearth. A bit of both, I suspect. But today, I'd say this was the worst BoC recording by a margin—if it ended at 2:30. Which it doesn't.

At 2:30 there's a turn, and after another 30 seconds the song is transformed into BoC at their sublime (and sumliminal) best. It has perhaps the best use of a voice sample in any BoC record, which BoC Pages suggests might be from a Minneapolis TV ident from the 1970s (sounds plausible).

And, as is so often the case with BoC's best moments, it's over cruelly quickly.

  • Spotify
  • YouTube fan video, with apt subject matter for the song title's hidden meaning

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