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Boards Of Canada / Campfire Headphase, The
Album:Campfire Headphase, The Collection:General
Artist:Boards Of Canada Added:10/2005
Label:Warp Records 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2005-11-13 Pull Date:2006-01-15 Charts:RPM/Electronica
Week Ending:15 Jan1 Jan25 Dec18 Dec11 Dec4 Dec27 Nov20 Nov
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Album Review
Captain Dee
Reviewed 2005-10-30 
:: fanboy swoon!! ::

What, and you really thought that Captain Dee wouldn't go nuts over the new Boards?

Like anything Boards of Canada (BoC) has ever graced, this album is brilliant. Mysterious, dreamy, organic downtempo/ambient electronica... infused with the noisy feedback bliss of My Bloody Valentine, the warped tape loop beauty of William Basinski, the nature-communing strum-y goodness of The Incredible String Band, the delicious off-kilter jams of the Cocteau Twins, and the charmingly broken guitars of Bibio. Warm (yet slightly haunted) melodies and heavily retro-styled sound textures ooze nostalgia, eliciting hazy, fond memories of childhood and other lived and unlived pasts. A perfect soundtrack for campfires, crisp sunny mornings, and roadtrips. Very "visual" music, full of subtle chiaroscuro, washed-out colors, and indescribable images; listening to Boards of Canada is as close to synaesthesia as you will ever get.

In short: accessible, head-nodding beats that are deeply comforting yet highly nuanced.
Absolutely essential, for DJs of all genres!

Extended review and track-by-track inside ----->
Favorite Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 7, 11

- Captain Dee, October 2005 -


Extended Review:
The legendary rural Scottish glitch-hop duo is back! (oh, and it turns out that Marcus Eoin and Michael Sandison are brothers).

No major earth-shattering changes from the famous BoC aesthetic here. But Campfire Headphase sees BoC drop all the hidden puzzles/references/cult-isms of Geogaddi in favor of a more "straightforward" approach. In particular, the duo seems to have taken a major cue from their friend Bibio in incorporating the quirky twang of warped guitar loops/melodies. For the most part, this redoubled focus on live instruments intensifies the warm inexplicably familiar aura so characteristic of BoC.

But perhaps "straightforward" is a poor choice of words. The high-level song structures may seem simple, but there is a staggering depth of complex emotion and sonic textures at play here. Acid flashbacks, colorful glimmers, off-kilter micro-melodies, echoing memory fragments, and muffled field recordings all swirl and dance together, infinitely refracting in the space of our minds. In each warped melody and hazy soundscape, you can almost hear the very process of the degeneration itself, as if the music existed outside the stream of time. No, seriously. To quote Willaim Basinski: "Tied up in these melodies were my youth, my paradise lost, the American pastoral landscape, all dying gently, gracefully, beautifully. Life and death were being recorded here as a whole: death as simply a part of life: a cosmic change, a transformation."

Some music-snob critics have been writing this album off... but don't listen to them! At first, I too thought this album was merely "pleasant," but it's really grown on me. Like most Boards of Canada works, Campfire Headphase has many layers that can only be appreciated over time. My main criticism is that the new album doesn't seem as much an "album" or larger journey as past BoC releases – Campfire Headphase is more of a heads-in-the-clouds joyride. The tracks are certainly ordered sensibly, but they don't interleave as maturely as on, say, Geogaddi.

Note:
If you like warped tape loops, twangy guitar, or Board of Canada, make sure you check out Bibio's Fi – one of my very favorite full-length albums of the last two years!


**1. Sunny ambient intro, beautiful. As the title implies, very rainbow-y. (0:44)
***2. Oh FUCK yes!!! ILL twangy guitar loop over tight drum programming. (5:47)
***3. Slow meandering groove, with a mix of carefree guitar and electronic melodies. Water noises, muddled field recordings. Very relaxed feel. Gorgeous! (6:04)
4. Slightly ominous guitar, ooo-ing ambience, tick-tock beat, later an electronic melody. (5:24)
**5. Feedback-y guitar melody. Becomes full-fledged twangy melody. Strong beat slowly kicks in, touches of strings. A full, acoustic sound that you might not expect from BoC. (5:00)
*6. Short ambient interlude. Sounds like waking up? (0:51)
***7. Quintessential Boards of Canada. Ethereal melody, multilayered dreamy sound textures, plodding beat. Extremely comforting. The break at 2:27 is just divine. (3:49)
*8. Fuzzy/stuttering ambience, with deep bass and muffled field recordings. (2:41)
**9. Great head-nodding beat, ghostly ambience, chime-y ethereal melodies, subtle bird noises and tons of other sound effects.
*10. Basinski-ish, degenerating ambience. (1:14)
**11. Lovely guitar loop, warped electronic melody, nice downtempo beat. The title ("Hey Saturday Sun") captures the feel. (4:56)
12. Reverb-y guitar, simple melody. Carefree, head-in-the-clouds vibe. Ambient. (1:42)
*13. Dark, mysterious vibe. Slightly ominous ambience. Sluggish but addictive beat. (6:09)
*14. Slow, daydream-ish ambient track. (4:03)
15. Pretty, distant ambient closing. Title ("Farewell Fire") is spot-on. Warning: fades out very slowly, the last few minutes will be imperceptible over radio.

Track Listing
1.Into The Rainbow Vein 8.Sherbet Head
2.Chromakey Dreamcoat 9.Oscar See Through Red Eye
3.Satellite Anthem Icarus 10.Ataronchronon
4.Peacock Tail 11.Hey Saturday Sun
5.Dayvan Cowboy 12.Constants Are Changing
6.A Moment Of Clarity 13.Slow This Bird Down
7.'84 Pontiac Dream 14.Tears From The Compound Eye
 15.Farewell Fire