Boards Of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest 2×12″ – WARP

Boards Of Canada has become so iconic, the task of a writeup of their latest doublepack is a bit daunting. Their muddled media campaign in advance of the album didn’t help to bring them down to earth; meanwhile, the Reach For The Dead advance single sounded like a slight update on the formula from their 1998 formal debut, Music Has A Right To Children.

So, with all of that baggage, the first listen to this album is a pleasant surprise. Rather than derivative of any of their catalog of works, or a concept album in some particular new direction, it seems to read as more of a gentle synthesis of their various tangents to date. Even the album art reads as a combination of the viewfinder aesthetic of In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country on the inner jackets and the cover’s aquamarine-tinted haze from Campfire Headphase.

At times, the roughly-sketched, unfinished, dream-like quality to some of the themes seems at odds with their now finely-tuned control of sound; songs like New Seeds and Jacquard Causeway show minimalist restraint when compared with their counterparts on Campfire Headphase. Palace Posy sounds like a slow-motion update of 1969, and the placid interlude “Sundown” is easily reminiscent of the sombre asides that characterized Geogaddi. Still, the full range of the duo is shown in heavier, cinematic tracks like Come To Dust and Cold Earth.

While over their many years recording they’ve spawned an as-yet unnamed subgenre and gathered more than a handful of disciples focused upon mining this or that corner of their sound, Boards Of Canada sound assured and essential as ever.

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