And now I will talk about an album that actually just came out recently instead of 5 or 10 years ago!
I started out my Boards of Canada fandom slowly – I picked up the EP In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country on a whim at Newbie’s because it was cheap and I’d heard good things about BoC, but I never really got into it – it was only four songs, and while they were enjoyable they were not especially memorable. But a few years later, when I finally shelled out the money for a copy of their then-most-recent album, The Campfire Headphase, it was a different story. From the first listen I was absolutely in love. These were sounds I felt I needed to hear at the time – they filled a void in me in the way that only really, really good music can. Only a couple of days (and probably 5 or 6 full listens) later, I wrote this intimidating block of text about how fucking wonderful this album was. I was, and still am, completely enamoured with BoC generally and that album in particular. Having said that, I have since gone back and dipped into the rest of their catalogue. While I’ve found other lovely music (Music Has the Right to Children basically lives up to the hype), none of it has affected me like The Campfire Headphase. But Tomorrow’s Harvest is a close second.
I don’t know how to describe this music. It’s walking along city-bright streets at night, the lights in windows high above glinting sharp in the corners of your vision. You’re trying to get home, and you’d take the train but you missed the last one, so you’re walking alone. You’re a bit wary – this isn’t a part of the city you’re very familiar with. But the city at night is beautiful in a harsh sort of way – all reflections and angles and shades of grey.
It’s uneasy music, yes, but soothing at the same time – I was feeling particularly anxious when I listened to it for the first time earlier, and while it didn’t compound the anxiousness, it sort of validated it. Like I felt better about being anxious because this music agreed with me – the world can be a scary, uncertain place sometimes. But it’s also beautiful because of that.
While I really enjoy Music Has the Right to Children, it doesn’t affect me in the same way. It’s too light, too sunny and airy, to really stick. I listen to it a fair amount, when I can’t take anything else – emotionally loaded lyrics, or vapid pop, or moody electronica. So I guess it does fill a need. It’s music unencumbered with associations – it simply is, it fills the air with sweetness, it’s immensely enjoyable. But it’s not important in the same way.
But with Tomorrow’s Harvest, BoC has again filled a void. I needed this music earlier tonight, and music I need is music I will keep coming back to.