After their fascinating promotional campaign, a live album listening event at an abandoned Southern California water park in the desert, and eight years of preparations, Boards of Canada finally released their latest album “Tomorrow’s Harvest” on June 11th.
Although the album has been out for just over a week now, I still wanted to review the album as it has been the first BOC release since I started this blog. Also, I didn’t want to throw a review together to hit right after release day because I needed some time to absorb this one, as well as to separate myself a bit from the hype surrounding the band’s first release in a long time.
“Tomorrow’s Harvest” absolutely lives up to the hype and actually exceeded my expectations. When an artist takes that much time off between projects, you wonder if the quality of the music will suffer on the new release. There is so much detail in this album and so many different samples and secrets, it seems as though it actually took them the full eight years to produce this masterpiece.
I was also reminded of other previous BOC works within the complexities of this album. The catchy melody of “Nothing is Real” reminded me a bit of “Roygbiv” from “Music Has A Right to Children.” The peppery “New Seeds” was a bit reminiscent of “Telephasic Workshop” from “Music Has a Right…” and even a bit like “Gyroscope” from “Geogaddi.” You will also hear a ton of random counting on vocal samples (BOC are huge into numbers) and of course that amazing and unmistakeable vintage synth sound that BOC are so well known for.
I think this project is one of those “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” sort of things. It is huge in scope from the cinematic opening of “Gemini” to the deep synth of “Semena Mertvykh” which sounds like music for the closing credits. This could be intentional as there is a bit of an apocolyptic feel from some of the darker tracks such as “Gemini.” “Reach for the Dead” and “Telepath” as well as some of the other track titles. “Cold Earth,” “Sick Times,” and “Collapse” don’t really conjure up thoughts of a walk in the park. I could definitely see this album being the soundtrack for some apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic film.
However, I think there’s also a bit of hopefulness in the music too. You’ll hear that in the brighter sounds of “Nothing is Real” which reminded me a bit of “Roygbiv” from their debut “Music Has A Right to Children.” The absolutely stunning “Sundown” also made me think of a sundown after a war has ended and it reminds the combatants that a new dawn of peace is arriving the next day.
I really cannot say enough about the quality of work the brothers (Mike Sandison and Marcus Eoin) have put out here. I understand they now have families and perhaps took some time off in order to attend to those more pressing matters. Though I can only hope that we do not need to wait another eight years to hear the next bit of perfection from these geniuses. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, go pick up “Tomorrow’s Harvest. It is available now on Warp Records.