Review Summary: Basically, this is a record that may or may not mold into your heart, may mold into it a little bit or shape to fit it perfectly, but you'll have to listen to find out.
Boards of Canada could very well be one of the most cohesive and fathomless electronic duos I've ever heard after I've listened to Geogaddi. I came across this record never hearing anything like it, nor expecting anything of this artistic magnitude. I can't say I was stunned or taken off guard however, because Geogaddi is a bit of a grower. Keep in mind this didn't grow on me because it initially sucked and I needed to get used to it or anything like that, it grew on me in the more subtle sense of the phrase. It was one of those records that, given enough time, revealed itself as something far greater than what it felt at first. Even more so, it was the
record that seemed to transcend being straightforward, and to me was so much deeper than other deep records I've heard. In a nutshell, Geogaddi set a new standard in what I thought was interpretive art.
They've said it themselves, the Scottish brothers Marcus Eoin & Mike Sandison behind BOC; Geogaddi was meant to be understood however the listener sees fit. Of course, that alone isn't what makes Geogaddi so well-constructed and pleasant; there are multiple ingenious facets like this carefully set in equilibrium, and they all work, making Geogaddi very admirable. In addition to open-minded designs, BOC created a record with an uncountable number of occult references, buried deep within everything from the album cover to the song titles (1969
, for example, is a year associated with the Branch Dividian cult). Further past the surface, one can discover an obscure amount of hidden messages when songs are slowed down or played in reverse, which makes this album very interesting. The evil nature apparent here isn't flamboyant or obvious however. In fact, during my earlier days of Geogaddi, I would have never thought this album had such dark intents. Another thing you may notice is the length of the overall album is roughly 66:06, and the number '666' is a religious number referring to Satan. That's just to name a few of the occult secrecies here.
Dark as it is, Geogaddi isn't always directly spooky. Boards of Canada have mastered the light-hearted, airy and relaxed sound they play on 1998's Music Has the Right To Children
, and while they are darker this time around, they still convey relaxing and mystic energy in their songs a lot of the time. In The Annex
, The Smallest Weird Number
, I Saw Drones
, Sunshine Recorder
, and The Devil is in the Details
are all very chilling tracks with both a haunting tone and a mellower atmosphere. The likes of Music Is Math
, Julie and Candy
, The Beach at Redpoint
, and You Could Feel The Sky
are either more rough at heart or utilize more energy and percussion to their sound, but to say they don't also have a dark sound would be a lie. Hell, even the completely silent Magic Window
just screams 'eeriness' because by then, you can just feel some kind of textured device stirring somewhere, audible or not. There are 23 tracks total, but several of these are much smaller, minute-and-a-half interludes. These are far from filler though, and they remotely add to the ambiance and great flow of the record substantially. Of course, there are five-minute tracks and even a 7 minute song scattered between all the minuscule ones, but really the whole thing flows like silk; the moods conveyed in each song are filtered and partially carried over in their dark nature to make the songs feel like part of the same world, but way different. This deviant/not deviant emission of songs actually adds to the 'different-for-each-person' factor ever so slightly.
Sounds like a unique trip up to this point, right? Here are my own interpretations of the songs I thought were worth mentioning: Music is Math
, the record's second track, takes the humming from Ready Lets Go
and warps it into a more forlorn, almost happy progression and beats it into your head with its rattly, drilling percussion to give off a subtle hostility. Sunshine Recorder
, a brilliantly moody and murky song, sounds both nihilistic in tone and heavy in ambient presence, almost making me feel like I'm being surrounded, but I don't know what by. 1969
is one of the many songs that have a nostalgic, pitchy sound, and when knowing what 1969 references, gives off the feeling that that year is sadly gone. Lastly, The Devil is in the Details
is chilling with the unintelligible voice in the background and occasional sound of a child yelling.
There are many ways to look at Geogaddi, even for just one person. Few albums are as deep and meaningful as this record, and oddly enough, you have the option of not seeing it as deep and meaningful at all. To some, it may not even be perceived as evil or even spooky. The large amount of tracks, long or short, are all diverse and varied while staying all part of the same domain. Clever, very much so. How Boards of Canada have made an album so diverse, deep, different for each person, and just great music in general all at the same time will always be one the things that make this album a classic to me, one that rapidly took a warm spot in my heart and seems comfortably cemented where it is. Basically, this is a record that may or may not mold into your heart, may mold into it a little bit or shaped to fit it perfectly, but you'll have to listen to find out; there's my reason why I highly recommend this record and why its one of my personal favorites.