Boards of Canada
Tomorrow's Harvest


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (103 Reviews)
June 15th, 2013 | 540 replies | 39,324 views


Release Date: 06/10/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Exactly as planned

Eight years is a long time to go absent, but fans of Boards of Canada don’t seem to mind. For them, that’s eight years to listen to Music Has the Right to Children and Geogaddi on loop: forever. Both have helped catapult the press-shy Scottish duo from collectors’ archives to a level where a single, one-of-a-kind record will set the internet alight. This is not to rule out the rest of their discography, but while scattered EPs and tracks may sometimes match the two goliaths in quality, they are always left in their shadow. BoC’s good is very good, and their best –for some- can be the very best, so it might be of no surprise to see the merely excellent concede with second place.

For this reason, a new BoC album didn’t inspire the fear created by similar announcements from other highly regarded artists. BoC’s consistency has muted the possibility of it being bad and fans seem to have accepted any chance for another Geogaddi being improbable, so when many were painstakingly typing in the exact 36-character cypher into the promotional website the only thoughts going through their heads will have been “I can’t believe the album is actually coming.”

With such a weight of expectation behind the release, BoC’s method of creation seems increasingly alarming. The brothers go to painstaking lengths to source old and decrepit equipment, using these to deconstruct any live recordings passed through and build music from the remains. For instance the texture for the strings in “Semena Mertvykh” originated as the slow motor of an old VHS deck, but it’s hard to hear how. It introduces an element of randomness any sane man would be terrified of, and even after this process BoC will layer percussion and melodies in a deliberately jarring an chaotic manner: it’s a wonder it manages to work.

As a whole, Tomorrow’s Harvest explores the possibility of a world without people. The duo’s obsession with old documentaries and 70/80’s soundtracks lends itself well, though for some it might be strange to hear BoC without continuous vocal samples (though they’re still around if you look for them) and the characteristic warm ambient fuzz. Despite the multitude of synths and textures filling the void, this can lead to the album feeling cold and lonely: a distinctly bleak feeling compared to their previously more intimate approach.

When they’re not depressing us, BoC borrow the dramatics present on The Campfire Headphase and apply it to their old style. Among others, the results are “Cold Earth” and “Split Your Infinities:” tracks with broad, cinematic flourishes of strings and scattered IDM percussion. While they succeed their job in depicting the vast, visual climates BoC were going for, the duo don’t seem as comfortable here as in softer, more ambiguous territory. The bold strides of instrumentation seem polarised to the extent of muting interpretation, and it would have been nicer to see them take a more subtle approach even at the expense of initial impact.

Surprisingly, it’s “Come to Dust” –another dramatic track- which makes the most obvious choice for stand out of the album. Not as gung-ho as elsewhere on Tomorrow’s Harvest, there’s almost a trip-hop feel to the tune as its percussion scatters like tiny particles on a hard floor two times a bar. Likewise, the accompanying melody seems almost atmospheric: building up a mood only to slowly sink in on itself with minute distortions. “Is it this/ is it that” has always been the area in which BoC have made their mark, and while Tomorrow’s Harvest may be a little more straight forward than its predecessors it’s good to see this present, if only just.

All in all it makes a pretty boring release; not for being a bad album, but for being excellent yet not too excellent: just as expected. It’s clear BoC still have some of the magic left over from the turn of the millennia, and when they choose to use it the music hits all the right nerves in exactly the right order. However, it’s hard to shake the feeling the duo may have pushed just a little too hard with their message this time: creating an album only ankle-deep in ambiguity.



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user ratings (485)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2013


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Originally on www.muzikdizcovery.com

This is a complete rewrite of a review which ended up at about 1400 words. It was better written but way too long and so far up its own ass it got completely lost somewhere around the small intestine. This one will have to do.

mindleviticus
June 15th 2013


8229 Comments


Exactly as planned...and it's a letdown

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2013


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wasn't expecting a classic, so I'm fine to be frank

mindleviticus
June 15th 2013


8229 Comments


I've given this a few listens and it hasn't grabbed me at all

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2013


21904 Comments


Same

mindleviticus
June 15th 2013


8229 Comments


at least we agree on one thing fish!

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2013


21904 Comments


Where's my party popper

Spec
June 15th 2013


27167 Comments


Haven't listened yet.

mindleviticus
June 15th 2013


8229 Comments


hey fish. the party of our agreement is about to begin. I'm ecstatic.

http://www.melaman2.com/cartoons/singles/stills/spongebob/sb-115.jpg

YakNips
June 15th 2013


10615 Comments


Summary made me think of Death Note

Digging: Ritual Mess - Vile Art

Drummerboy123
June 15th 2013


2353 Comments


You're all cray cray. Album is excellent.

I think people put way to much hype on this thing. Just listen to it as a stand alone piece of work, not as a hyped up comeback album.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2013


21904 Comments


It wouldn't change anything

mindleviticus
June 15th 2013


8229 Comments


death note was a good manga and anime but the movie was laughable to infinite extent

Drummerboy123
June 15th 2013


2353 Comments


I've just seen people on forums be like

"Oh new BoC album after 8 years, it sounds really dark, hopefully it's as good as Geo"

Which nothing ever is or will be, but comparisons to past work will always be there I suppose. Then people just stack the hype on this up.

Surprised you don't dig this as much as Geo either fish, it's got similar vibes, less beat heavy and more ambient in tone though.

Rev
June 15th 2013


9422 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

half of the death note manga was good


this is better than death note

YakNips
June 15th 2013


10615 Comments


I agree completely mindlevictus, live action does not suit Death Note

Rev
June 15th 2013


9422 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i've never seen the live action, but from what i've heard it actually had a decent ending

Drummerboy123
June 15th 2013


2353 Comments


There are still times when I'm listening to this in amazement that I'm actually listening to a new BoC album haha.

The novelty still hasn't wore off me. Also I only watched a bit of DeathNote, seemed alright from what I gathered. That was years ago tho.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2013


21904 Comments


Geogaddi had all these idm bits I liked idk

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2013


21904 Comments


Still love that my being indifferent to things causes such an emotional reaction from some people



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