Sep 152011

Following is my impressions of The Campfire Headphase by Boards of Canada, written around 1:00 am while I was crazy with sleep deprivation. I’ve been listening to a lot of new (to me) music lately, what with all the driving and homeworking, and I figure if I’m too tired or busy to do much else I should at least write about that. Also, I’ve been reading a lot of Headphone Commute, which is really nifty if you’re into this sort of music. Enjoy my crazy.

Warbly, sparkly, tape-decayed guitar and synth; solid, syncopated rhythms clicking and popping and etching their way across my tired skull; field recordings of ocean waves and chatter and traffic; tiny, repeated melodies that stick to the insides of my head like warm soup on a chilly fall day, nourishing me, softening my hard edges. I can’t believe how late I’m discovering this music. I’ve had the EP In a Beautiful Place Out In the Country for a couple of years now, and I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s only four tracks and not nearly as large in scope as The Campfire Headphase. Apparently, this is the Boards of Canada album that fans of Boards of Canada dislike, I guess because it’s a huge departure from their earlier albums. Not knowing much of their other music, I can’t comment on this, but as a newcomer to BoC and appreciator/collector of IDM/glitch/ambient/whatever generally, I think this album is totally fantastic. I guess maybe it’s like Tusk was to Fleetwood Mac fans when it came out: totally out of left field, a complete departure from the “signature sound” of Rumours, and not what people were expecting or hoping for. But with time, this irritation tends to smooth itself out, I think, if the music is actually good. Despite not being in line with people’s expectations, Tusk is a great album, maybe even better than Rumours in some ways. Maybe this is true of The Campfire Headphase also? I intend to get the other albums BoC has out to answer this question for myself. At any rate, to quote Editors, “I’m so glad I found this, I’m so glad I did.” Even if I’m six years late.