The Return Of Boards of Canada
It's funny, sometimes, how things pan out.
I was listening to The Conet Project. I'm still listening to The Conet Project – it's about 4.8 hours long. So far I've recognised numerous sequences from Boards of Canada songs. It seems that every time a sequence of numbers appears in their music, it's a Conet Project sample.
But anyway, just as this spark of familiarity flared, I noticed on my Twitter feed that Boards of Canada are back, and they're back in the best way possible.
It seems that New York's Other Music was visited by a representative from Warp Records at about 15.00 on Record Store Day. They dropped off a record – just one – a supremely cryptic dispatch from Boards of Canada. This record was bought almost instantly by a Reddit user.
On the sleeve were a series of dashes, slashes and Xs, arranged thus:
—— / —— / —— / XXXXXX / —— / ——
On the record were about twenty seconds of music (which sound like a riff on the ambient intro to Everything You Do Is A Balloon) and a sequence of numbers (making it even stranger that I should have been listening to The Conet Project when I learned about this).
The numbers are 936557.
All we have beyond that is an upload to Boards of Canada's official Youtube channel – a new video for Julie and Candy from Geogaddi, entitled “1977 snow computing amateur footage beards synthesizer”. It was originally labelled with a series of dashes, which appeared initially at the 4:20 mark of the video, then, on the next day, at the 4:19 mark.
Consequence of Sound believe that they might be counting down to something. If a new album's in the pipeline, this suggests that it might be out in less than 300 days!
This has made me extremely happy for two reasons. First of all, a new Boards of Canada album. Get in.
But second of all, how often has it been said that the internet's stripped all mystery and romanticism from music? I'm looking at you, Twitter. Now that we're prithee to the every thought of every musician, it does feel as though we've lost something.
Also, we can now hear (and criticise) albums months before they're released. We can sing every word of every unreleased song ever played at a gig.
That Boards of Canada can retain this esoteric edge even in these days when everybody knows everything all the time is wonderful. Truly wonderful.
What's more, they appear to be using the internet not to spread information, but to spread mystery. It's been reasoned that there are six of these records (as there are five more dashes on the front of the record), and presumably they've been placed in locations all over the world.
Boards of Canada attract the sort of fans who'll pore over every clue they're given in an attempt to uncover whatever mystery's waiting to be uncovered. In releasing this dispatch in this way, they're encouraging people to get together online in order to pick apart and piece together what little information we have.
Case in point? On the same Consequence of Sound article as linked to above, it's already been pointed out in the comments that the sequence of numbers – 936557 – correspond to a turquoise sort of colour.
The significance of that is enough to indue a sharp take of breath for any Boards of Canada fan.
So next time anybody complains that music's been ruined irreparably by the internet, point them in the direction of Boards of Canada. It takes a very special kind of band to spread so much hype through saying so little.