Boards of Canada
Music Has the Right to Children



by Scott Herren USER (42 Reviews)
January 23rd, 2005 | 2444 replies

Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Released: 1998

Boards of Canada is the duo Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin, and is based on the Northern Coast of Scotland. They first burst onto the music scene in 1996 releasing an 8-track promotional EP entitled Twoism, which impressed experimental electronica label Scam. This EP prompted Scam to sign the band, and the band made their first release on the label in 1996, with an EP entitled Hi Scores.

The sound on the EP was a mix of synth melodies, and hip-hop and electronic references, and drew comparisons to artists like Autechre. In late 1996, the band began touring with groups Autechre and Plaid. They also released tracks on several compilation albums. In 1998, the band released their first full length album in Music Has the Right to Children. The album was instantly hailed by critics, and though it doesn't break new ground for style (hip-hop beats and electro-synth is a common combo in the genre), it does set the bar for electronica and IDM.

Marcus Eion - Producer
Michael Sandison - Producer

This is an album best experienced as a whole. There are various different moods and audio effects that engulf the listener. As a result, I highly recommend listening to Music Has the Right to Children through headphones.

The album opener "Wildlife Analysis" sets a light and airy mood, but this lasts for just a minute or so before "An Eagle in Your Mind" takes over. The synths move back and forth from sides to side before the heavy dubs and scratching propel the song forward. The swirling synths now take a backstage to the wonderful percussion. The seemingly random voice samples aren't random at all, but rather carefully placed to amazing effect.

"The Color of Fire" is a heavily reverbed sample of a child speaking like a child does. It is really amazing what they are able to do with this, making a beautiful work of art out of a child making out the words "I love you". This leads us into "Telephasic Workshop", a dub masterpiece. "Triangles and Rhombuses" fades in and fades immediately back out before setting the light mood for the lovely "Sixtyten" which implements a heavy bass drum and some spacey synths which create a bit of a darker mood, but near the end, another song begins with no bass drum, but rather just a keyboard melody that lasts for just a matter of seconds it seems.

"Turquoise Hexagon Sun" is the highlight of the album for me. I have heard it so many times, and yet it is still difficult to describe what makes it so great. There is a hip-hop beat in the background, faint voices talking, and a gorgeous keyboard melody laid over the top which altogether makes for a marvelous song. The next couple songs "Kaini Industries", and "Bocuma" are just short experimenting with melodies, with no percussion or bass line or anything, but they are still pure beauty.

"Roygbiv" begins sounding like a dark song, but near the two minute mark, there is a sample of a child, and a bright and shimmering melody takes over the song and creates this wonderful vibe that is carried throughout the second half of the song. This is one of the highlights. "Rue the Whirl" has this start-stop-start-stop pace thing to it that is just addictive, it is repetitive for sure, but it just works so well with this song, as they add different things to the focal point for the first 4 minutes, then in the later part of the song, a different hip-hop beat takes over with some scratching, which is pretty nice.

"Aquarius" begins with a shimmering spacey synth, which is later joined by metalic or tinny sounding drums. The samling of children is again used in this song, and works wonderfully. The childish feel that is gained from these samples is one of the things that makes this such an amazing piece. "Olsen" is another short piece with just a nice melody and no percussion. Boards of Canada break up the album nicely so that there are nice full songs, seperated by simple comedown type melodies.

"Pete Standing Alone" begins as a slow soft song, but after a little while, the heavy bass drum comes in and the song goes off on several crazy tangents with insane dubbing and scratching. "Smokes Quantity" has a weird droning synth with a standard hip-hop beat, and some nice twinkling noises placed over the top. If there is one lull in the album it is with this song. "Open the Light" is one of my favorites on the album. It has a very magical feel to it as it builds with it's twinkling noises, soft synth strings, and slow, paced bass drum. This is just an amazing song for me.

"One Very Important Thought" was the original album closer, and it is just a minure long, and there is a sample of a woman telling us the album is over, but even here the music is just perfect. The message that she gives is rather interesting as well. If you have the reissue, as I do, there is a bonus track called "Happy Cycling" as well. It has a nice hip-hop feel to it, and doesn't have the spacey feel that is on much of the album until the last minute or so when it really becomes magical. This is one really special album that only comes around once in a long while.

This is such a great album that I am going to give it a perfect score. It really sets the standard for this type of music, and when listening to the album, it requires all your attention, and can take you to another world, it only for 70 minutes or so.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
January 23rd 2005


Pitchfork rated the re-issue(?) 10. w3rd. I'm very curious about them anyways, I'll check them out very soon. Nice;)

June 30th 2005


whats the availabilty of this cd

February 19th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

This cd, along with anything by BoC (save Campfire, which I've seen at Best Buy), is pretty rare. The good news is you can find BoC anywhere all over the p2p world, including the rarest tracks.

Scott Herren
February 20th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

I got this album at my local cd store no problem. I there is an album by BoC that a store has in stock it is probably this one.

February 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album is mindblowingly good. I love every single track off the album which is extremely rare because there are 20 songs. I find this far superior to the meh 'Geogaddi' and 'Campfire Headphase.' I'm not really sure why I like this so much and it sort of bothers me, I think that it creates a unique type of atmosphere that I've never experienced before.

Pretty good review. I'd have a really hard time describing this.

March 2nd 2006


i purchased the campfire headphase last week, and thouroughly enjoy it.
i should probably pick this up yeah?

March 2nd 2006


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Definately, if you enjoyed the campfire headphase than you will love this.

March 19th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

I like Geogaddi more than this, but it's still an incredible cd. If you can find it, buy it.

May 10th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0


May 13th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I'm gonna get this.

May 17th 2006


I'm gonna get this tooo

May 18th 2006


This album is gold, and a great review.

Liberi Fatali
June 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Some beautiful lush landscapes on this album.

After listening to the album and then reading this review, I disagree with you in many points. But nonetheless, you voiced your opinions nicely.

Many of the highlights for me are in fleeting songs like Bocuma, Triangles & Rhombuses and The Color of the Fire. Not worthy of the classic status, as there is some electronic music out there that totally overshadows this. Nice album though.This Message Edited On 06.03.06

June 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

[quote=Liberi]Many of the highlights for me are in fleeting songs like Bocuma, Triangles & Rhombuses and The Color of the Fire.[/quote] Those are all good songs but I prefer the tracks with the heavier drumbeats like Sixyten, Roygbiv, and Happy Cycling. The middle/end of the album is excellent, Roygbiv until the last track is were the album really picks up.

Liberi Fatali
June 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Oshi, I forgot to mention Roygbiv. That is a really delicious song too.

However many of the heavier drumbeats just don't seem to work for me.

June 14th 2006


I want this oh so badly.

August 26th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I really like this album.

The Jungler
October 2nd 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

This CD is so good. I can find almost nothing wrong with it, other than one or two sub par tracks and the fact that the CD is too long.

October 2nd 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I find it gets slightly annoying at times, but it's way cool.

Two-Headed Boy
October 31st 2006


Album Rating: 4.0


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