First Listen: Boards of Canada – ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’

Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest_packshotIf you’ve not been following the story of Boards of Canada’s latest album Tomorrow’s Harvest, here’s a quick run down: it began with a mystery 12″ record found during this years’ Record Store Day which contained an enigmatic jingle claiming to be an original Boards of Canada composition. What followed was a series of mysterious messages placed around the internet, and at one point during a television commercial, that had people piecing together a series of six-digit codes.

The whole thing was like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel. Anyway, the band finally announced that their long awaited album would be called Tomorrow’s Harvest and that it would be released on Warp on 10 June and that they would be playing the album in its entirety at a coordinated global time a week ahead of release. Phew… so here we are.

So, the playback has happened and we’ve all had our cerebral cortexes whetted, but what of the album itself? Well, it seems that the months of hype have been… kind of worth it. Tomorrow’s Harvest is certainly what you’d expect from the Scottish duo. It’s a sprawling landscape of an album, full of rounded atmospherics and precipitating rhythms. It’s almost like the album has its own weather system. From the opening, yawning synths of ‘Gemini’, Tomorrow’s Harvest pulls you into a little vortex of sound, the frequencies fluttering through you. ‘Cold Earth’ is a track that definitely stands out. It’s a huge behemoth of a track filled with tightly urgent beats and engulfing synths.

As the album progresses, it’s clear that Tomorrow’s Harvest is a shade darker than Boards of Canada’s previous output. There’s an ever present sinister edge to the music, especially towards the end of the album in tracks like ‘Nothing Is Real’ and ‘Come To Dust’ which sound like Geogaddi-era compositions with a pinch of Black Dice and entry level Autechre. The most sinister of all has to be album closer ‘Semena Mertvyk’ which sits menacingly at the outer edge of the album, its layered crunchy synths slowly pulsing.

After all the speculation and column inches devoted to exactly what Boards of Canada were going to come up with, on first listen, Tomorrow’s Harvest seems like it has truly lived up to the expectations. It’s going to take some more deciphering but then again, it wouldn’t really be a Boards of Canada album if it didn’t.

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