|issue||12 Oct 2005|
Splendid Isolation was an interview by Neil Davenport originally published in the October 12 2005 edition of Metro freesheet newspaper p.23
This is an original text copied verbatim from the original source. Do not edit this text to correct errors or misspellings. Aside from added wikilinks, this text is exactly as it originally appeared.
Tune in to the other-worldly sound of Boards Of Canada
Musicians often boast they're removed from the hub and froth of media-piloted trends. Yet few do so with as much conviction as Scots duo Boards Of Canada. Located in the rural Scottish Highlands, brothers Mike Sandison and Marcus Eoin (they are both called Sandison but Marcus uses his middle name) firmly believe that separation from civilization is mandatory.
The ends fully justify the means. Since breaking through in 1998 with their landmark full-length debut, Music Has The Right To Children, Boards Of Canada have taken analogue electronica on a solar expedition. Sparse yet eerily expansive keyboard signatures sound cut loose from the Earth's gravity, yet the effect is altogether more human and emotional than that description might suggest. After 2002's dense and symmetrical samples on Geogaddi, new album The Campfire Headphase is a deliberate return to the weird evocations of grainy Super-8s and Sesame Street heard on Music Has The Right To Children. Even the sleeve looks similar.
Yet The Campfire Headphase isn't the sound of the duo standing thematically or musically still.
The American references are appropriate. As children, the brothers obsessed over American TV programmes such as The Six Million Dollar Man and dystopian sci-fi films The Andromeda Strain, Logan's Run and Silent Running. Such wonky soundtracks helped map out the Boards' wobbly, fluttering sound.
Despite precocious geekiness, their formative years still included a conventional stint as a 'proper' guitar band. And if Mike and Marcus are going 'full circle', it's fitting that they've dusted down their guitars for this album.
In 2005, no one comes close to replicating or bettering the Boards' imperfect purity. Electronica as a genre may have ceased to be exciting or beguiling years ago, but can The Campfire Headphase kick-start a fresh reappraisal? Don't expect to get any answers from Mike and Marcus.
Somehow, you kind of believe him.
Brothers' gonna work it out...