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The facts: "Geogaddi" is exactly 66 minutes 6 seconds long - the number of the Beast" - and one of its tracks is titled "[[The Devil Is In The Details]]". The track " [[Amo Bishop Roden]]" refers to one of the victims ''[translator's note: she was not in fact present - see link just given]'' in the carnage of Waco, when the Davidian sect led by David Koresh committed mass suicide before the FBI stormed the compound in which they were gathered. Listening carefully to some tracks reveals voices that should be played backwards, or which seem like psychophonies ''[ = recordings supposedly of the spirit world]''; "[[Sixtyten]]", in "Music has the right to childen", includes a series of numbers recited by the voice of a child, which some fans, as though interpreting the Kaballah, have seen as having a hidden meaning or a secret message, as though they were the Numbers from the show "Lost" - you know, 4 8 15 16 23 42. {{boc|Sometimes we put things into the records that are meant to give rise to ideas or states of mind; others are clues, tricks or gratuitous details that we put there to get people discussing them among themselves. We aren't involved in any kind of cult or sinister religion. It all just aesthetics and games.}} explains '''Michael Sandison'''. {{boc|The voice of a child, or some dialogue out of its context, can help to provide that dark touch that we are looking for, with a subliminal component: you are listening to something very pretty and then, underneath, you are hearing something so sinister that it gives you the shivers. But most of the time we do things as a joke.}} according to '''Eoin'''. {{boc|If 'Geogaddi' lasts 66 minutes and 6 seconds it's because we wanted to end the record with a long silence, and our sound engineer had a bright idea and said to us 'why don't you take the opportunity to extend the play time to 66 minutes and 6 seconds' and we said 'let's do it'. It's not a Satanic message: it's a big joke.}}
+
The facts: "Geogaddi" is exactly 66 minutes 6 seconds long - the Number of the Beast - and one of its tracks is titled "[[The Devil Is In The Details]]". The track " [[Amo Bishop Roden]]" refers to one of the victims ''[translator's note: she was not in fact present - see link just given]'' in the carnage of Waco, when the Davidian sect led by David Koresh committed mass suicide before the FBI stormed the compound in which they were gathered. Listening carefully to some tracks reveals voices that should be played backwards, or which seem like psychophonies ''[ = recordings supposedly of the spirit world]''; "[[Sixtyten]]", in "Music has the right to childen", includes a series of numbers recited by the voice of a child, which some fans, as though interpreting the Kaballah, have seen as having a hidden meaning or a secret message, as though they were the Numbers from the show "Lost" - you know, 4 8 15 16 23 42. {{boc|Sometimes we put things into the records that are meant to give rise to ideas or states of mind; others are clues, tricks or gratuitous details that we put there to get people discussing them among themselves. We aren't involved in any kind of cult or sinister religion. It all just aesthetics and games.}} explains '''Michael Sandison'''. {{boc|The voice of a child, or some dialogue out of its context, can help to provide that dark touch that we are looking for, with a subliminal component: you are listening to something very pretty and then, underneath, you are hearing something so sinister that it gives you the shivers. But most of the time we do things as a joke.}} according to '''Eoin'''. {{boc|If 'Geogaddi' lasts 66 minutes and 6 seconds it's because we wanted to end the record with a long silence, and our sound engineer had a bright idea and said to us 'why don't you take the opportunity to extend the play time to 66 minutes and 6 seconds' and we said 'let's do it'. It's not a Satanic message: it's a big joke.}}
  
  
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Fans of Boards of Canada do things that, for example, a fan of The Sean and Cake or Rocío Jurado would never do. Before "The campfire headphase" was released, up to three different versions were circulating on Soulseek, and all three were fakes, put out by imitative fans who, taking advantage of the situation and the minimal information available about the release - the number of tracks, and the titles - uploaded their music to the Internet to pass themselves off as the real Boards of Canada. {{boc|A friend of mine from New Zealand sent me an email,}} relates '''Marcus''', {{boc|and he said to me 'I listened to your new release on the Internet and it's great! I was baffled. I hadn't sent it out yet!}} There are also fans who make up reviews, like the one who runs the Angryrobot blog, who published a track-by-track rundown of the totally made-up record, to which others fans responded with their posts to lift the lid on the situation, and even a Marcus Eoin impersonator who told Angryrobot face to face that his review was a lie. {{boc|But it wasn't me,}} insists '''Marcus'''. {{boc|They didn't just fake our records, but our identities as well!}} Many fans of Boards of Canada are firmly convinced that there was a Maxi single from 2002 called "[[Lavender Trapezoids EP|Lavender trapezoids]]", but what is going around on Soulseek is in fact an EP by the English IDM producer CiM. And so on, ad infinitum. But if anything shows that the most extreme fans of Boards of Canada are out of their minds, it's the prices that they can bring themselves to pay for some of their records. Two months ago a single-sided blue-vinyl test pressing with four songs from "Geogaddi" was auctioned on eBay. It was listed there by a certain 'amtiskaw' and it was bought for £215 (about 315 Euros) by someone calling themselves 'lenapiem' . {{boc|We know 'amtiskaw', he's a former employee of Warp who left the job and is now starting up a business, he needs the money and that's why he's selling off these rare records. But he isn't the problem,}} says '''Michael Sandison''' with laughter. {{boc|The problem is the idiot who pays over £200 for a hunk of blue plastic.}} The kind who, not so long ago, and without the slightest qualm, paid £70 for the first Maxi by Jega, and £120 for the first one by Bola, both released on Skam, the label on which Boards of Canada came to be known after being signed up by Autechre. Yes, some fans are horrible, or have wads of cash to spare. Or Boards of Canada are so great that you just can't help but be driven crazy by them.
+
Fans of Boards of Canada do things that, for example, a fan of The Sea and Cake or Rocío Jurado would never do. Before "The campfire headphase" was released, up to three different versions were circulating on Soulseek, and all three were fakes, put out by imitative fans who, taking advantage of the situation and the minimal information available about the release - the number of tracks, and the titles - uploaded their music to the Internet to pass themselves off as the real Boards of Canada. {{boc|A friend of mine from New Zealand sent me an email,}} relates '''Marcus''', {{boc|and he said to me 'I listened to your new release on the Internet and it's great! I was baffled. I hadn't sent it out yet!}} There are also fans who make up reviews, like the one who runs the Angryrobot blog, who published a track-by-track rundown of the totally made-up record, to which others fans responded with their posts to lift the lid on the situation, and even a Marcus Eoin impersonator who told Angryrobot face to face that his review was a lie. {{boc|But it wasn't me,}} insists '''Marcus'''. {{boc|They didn't just fake our records, but our identities as well!}} Many fans of Boards of Canada are firmly convinced that there was a Maxi single from 2002 called "[[Lavender Trapezoids EP|Lavender trapezoids]]", but what is going around on Soulseek is in fact an EP by the English IDM producer CiM. And so on, ad infinitum. But if anything shows that the most extreme fans of Boards of Canada are out of their minds, it's the prices that they can bring themselves to pay for some of their records. Two months ago a single-sided blue-vinyl test pressing with four songs from "Geogaddi" was auctioned on eBay. It was listed there by a certain 'amtiskaw' and it was bought for £215 (about 315 Euros) by someone calling themselves 'lenapiem' . {{boc|We know 'amtiskaw', he's a former employee of Warp who left the job and is now starting up a business, he needs the money and that's why he's selling off these rare records. But he isn't the problem,}} says '''Michael Sandison''' with laughter. {{boc|The problem is the idiot who pays over £200 for a hunk of blue plastic.}} The kind who, not so long ago, and without the slightest qualm, paid £70 for the first Maxi by Jega, and £120 for the first one by Bola, both released on Skam, the label on which Boards of Canada came to be known after being signed up by Autechre. Yes, some fans are horrible, or have wads of cash to spare. Or Boards of Canada are so great that you just can't help but be driven crazy by them.
  
 
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Latest revision as of 11:14, 29 January 2020


title Boards of Canada: La Materia De La Que Están Hechos Los Sueños
author Javier Blánquez
publication Go Mag
date 2005/11
issue 61
pages 32-36




Original Text[edit]

Boards of Canada: La Materia De La Que Están Hechos Los Sueños was an interview (in Spanish) by Javier Blánquez originally published November 2005 in Go Magazine Number 61.

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.


Boards of Canada: La Materia De La Que Están Hechos Los Sueños[edit]

Texto: Javier Blanquez


Fotografías: Peter Iain Campbell


No iremos ahora a descubrir por qué Boards Of Canada es un grupo esencial y un faro necesario para quienes escuchan música -podríamos añadir electrónica, pero sería un dato irrelevante, ellos están ya por encima de géneros. Durante siete años y tres discos, sus atmosferas de ensueño y sus melodías capaces de poner el brazo como la esencia de la escarpia han acompañado nuestras noches y nuestros días, y cada vez que un nuevo disco se retrasa notamos ese vacío de estomago propio del amor o el desamparo. Como les necesitamos, por fin han decidido darnos alimento y han publicado un tercer disco arenoso y austero, "The campfire headphase". Un nuevo misterio que nos Llevó hasta su mismísima Escocia para obtener respuestas.


In a Beautiful Place out in the City


"Creía que érais fantasmas, que no existíais de verdad". No es lo mejor que se le puede decir de entrada a dos personas cuyos discos son como el aire que hemos respirado toda la vida, pero así es como empieza esta conversación. No había otra forma. Sonríen, como diciendo 'pues aquí estamos'. Son normales, visten como cualquier otra persona, con un estilismo urban de ropas anchas y colores claros; llevan anillos en sus dedos, gel fijador de efecto mojado en el pelo, las barbas de dos días perfectamente estudiadas; no son monjes ni espectros. Son personas corrientes, con la diferencia de que graban para Warp y los demás no. ¿Dónde estamos? ¿Qué hacen Boards Of Canada aquí? Fuera llueve y el suelo brilla con el relente de las farolas en la caída de la noche. Dentro se está bien y suena una música horrible; es una cafetería de Edimburgo de sofás mullidos, y Michael Sandison, a la derecha, y Marcus Eoin, a la izquierda, se han manifestado en carne y hueso mientras beben té con leche y zumos naturales.
Especialmente cuando empezamos a trabajar con Warp, decidirnos que no queríamos identificar nuestra música con una cara, porque cuando ocurre eso la personalidad del artista se pone por delante de la música y eso diluye toda su efecto,
cuenta Sandison para justificar un aislamiento casi ascético que les ha mantenido en una penumbra, en un semi-anonimato, durante más de una década.
El problema,
prosigue Eoin,
es que cuando borras tu identidad, desapareces, y eso da pie a todo tipo de especulaciones sobre quién eres. Pero ahora que la gente acepta nuestra música, no hay necesidad de esconderse para protegerla. La ambigüedad de antes ya no es tan vital.
Sí, los misteriosos Boards Of Canada ya no se esconden. Son de verdad y han decidido conceder una de esas muy raras entrevistas que dan cara a cara para explicar todo lo que haga falta sobre el misterio que parece rodear a su vida y su obra y, por supuesto, explicar los pormenores de "The campfire headphase" (Warp / PIAS, 05), su tercer disco en ocho años y un giro sutil a un discurso musical que si antes había basculado alrededor de la electrónica abstracta, el hip hop color sepia y las melodías de ensueño, ahora es más de lo mismo -e igualmente sublime en los momentos clave- pero con ese elemento folk telúrico y cubierto de hiedra que ya empezaba a adoptar preeminencia en los rincones más opacos del fascinante "Geogaddi" (Warp, 02). En efecto, si algo ha permanecido como elemento inalterable en la música de Boards Of Canada durante quince años -recuerden que Michael Sandison y Marcus Eoin llevan haciendo música desde comienzos de la década pasada, publicando cassettes en ediciones limitadísimas en su ahora inactivo sello Music70- es una psicodelia musgosa y en tonos verde turquesa, heredera del viejo folk inglés de principios de los setenta y barnizada con electrónica que busca sobre todo sonar antiguo, como un recuerdo de hace treinta años que aparece en el fondo de un baúl.
Si vieras los discos que tenernos en nuestra colección,
sostiene Michael,
comprendrías mucho mejor nuestras fuentes. Siempre estamos buscando algo nuevo, aunque sea de hace treinta años, porque somos ese tipo de personas que se aburren muy rápido de lo que ya conocen. La música electrónica quizá es el área que tenemos menos explorada, a nosotros siempre nos han influenciado más híbridos extraños y desconocidos. Hay gente que se sorprendería al saber que admiramos a Stevie Wonder y a Marcos Valle, que nos alucina la música brasileña. Pero es por una razón: esa es música que llena el espacio.


Quien haya escuchado, aunque sólo sea una vez y sin profundizar, a Boards Of Canada, sabrá perfectamente entender de lo que habla Michael Sandison. Toda la obra precedente a este "The campfire headphase" viene precedida por una búsqueda de un espacio concreto y delimitado; un espacio amplio el que suceden cosas, en el que corre el aire o entra el sol y donde el tiempo parece quedarse congelado, o estático, cubierto de polvo; es en esa reclusión cuando aparece la esencia de Boards Of Canada, las emociones, los recuerdos, la oscuridad o la penumbra, los fogonazos de deja vus que nunca sucedieron. Uno escucha a Boards Of Canada y se siente como ese niño que sube una escalera de madera, se sube al desván de la casa del abuelo y descubre, entre telarañas y carcoma, un tesoro de antaño en forma de libros, viejos discos de piedra y utensilios del hogar abandonados. Para saber si con su tercer álbum lo han vuelto a conseguir, sólo basta con acudir a dos piezas: "Peacock tail" y "Dayvan cowboy". Y entonces suspiras de alivio, porque la espera, una vez más, ha valido la pena.


Un Pasado Verde Turquesa


Además de llenar el espacio, la música de Boards Of Canada llena el tiempo. A su manera, los escoceses son como la cara inversa de Kraftwerk: si Ralf y Florian querían recrear un futuro a partir de máquinas, un futuro que nunca tendrían y que les daba pie a una mirada melancólica y aventurera, Boards Of Anada imaginan un pasado que nunca existió y que, por tanto, nunca les ha pertenecido. La supuesta nostalgia de una edad perdida que siempre ha sido un tema de discusión acerca de "Music has the right to children" (Warp, 98), por ejemplo, no es en absoluto real, sino imaginaria e idealizada.
¿Verdad que no tenemos pinta de ser dos tíos con problemas de identidad que buscan su infancia perdida?,
comenta Eoin con una sonrisa. Sandison va más lejos.
Si en un tema ponemos un cierto sentimiento, ese sentímiento puede y debe ser transferible a otra persona. Y entonces esa persona puede evocar recuerdos personales a partir de ciertos sonidos o melodías; grandes momentos de felicidad o tragedias, pérdidas de seres queridos. La música es combustible emocional, pero nuestras emociones no son las mismas que las tuyas. Esas imágenes de infancia... No son nuestra nostalgia, sino un recurso estético que despierta la nostalgia en los demás.


Boards Of Canada juegan con el tiempo. Sus temas los componen como quien cultiva viñedos y embotella vino: mimando su crecimiento, preocupándose por el sol y el buen aire, esperando al momento justo de envejecimiento para poder descargar todo el sabor. Ya desde el lejano "Twoism" (Music70, 95) y el magistral EP "Hl scores" (Skam, 96), un disco de Boards Of Canada parecía venir desde un pasado incierto y lejano; podía ser la edad media o los años ochenta, pero siempre era indistinguible y ancestral. "The campfire headphase" suena aún más viejo,
grabado con técnicas de los años setenta, al estilo de James Taylor, tiene un sonido no tanto folk como de rock mainstream de entonces, sobre todo en las guitarras,
según Sandison.
Pero no deja de ser nuestro sonido, ese en el que hay una capa de belleza por encima y otra de amargura por debajo, oscura y desasosegante.
Quienes han identificado a Boards Of Canada con un sonido pastoral y bucólico se dejan con esa definición la parte interesante del conjunto: la sombra, las voces espectrales, las atmósferas grises, la telaraña.
La descripción de `bucólico' es una simplificación, sin duda,
reconoce Marcus.
Palabras como 'pastoral' y 'hippy'... no ha sido nunca nuestra intención. Me sugiere imágenes de quemar incienso y no me gusta.


Cada disco de Boards Of Canada es un color. "Hi scores" era azul marino, como aire fresco de la costa atlántica. "Music has the right to children" era verde turquesa, bello y rico, pero a la vez triste, y "Geogaddi" era un naranja atardecer, una mezcla entre calor y frío, como de tristeza por verse ir el sol mientras se contempla su belleza. "The campfire headphase" es entre amarillo y verde, como el trigo o como la arena. Dice Michael Sandison al respecto:
es cierto, hay una especie de aproximación sinestésica en lo que hacemos, y cuidamos mucho el diseño de los discos por fuera para que expresen el estado de ánimo de la música por dentro. 'Music has the right to children' era un disco a cielo abierto, y `Geogaddi' era más claustrofóbico. Este nuevo disco lo veo como un desierto, espacioso y cálido. Pensamos las canciones mucho en términos de paleta de colores limitada, y quizá por eso 'The campfire headphase' ha salido decolorado, como si le hubiera caído encima un chorro de lejía.


El nuevo disco, en efecto, suena acústico -con guitarras rasgueadas colocadas sobre samples de percusión real y ráfagas ambientales que son como aire caliente, tan electrónico como folk y dando lecciones incluso a Four Tet de cómo se innova y se maravilla en la folktrónica. Boards Of Canada asumen incluso una conexión con la Gran Bretaña mágica del folk de los setenta, con las referencias a vegetación y ligazones con el mito romántico. Una vez más, fuera del tiempo.


La Geometría del Emo


¿De dónde más viene la emoción que se palpa en cada segundo de Boards Of Canada? No es tan sólo una feliz entramado de melodías, ambientes y alusiones a la cara oculta del corazón. Debe haber algo más. Como padres de toda una generación de artistas electrónicos escoceses -Christ, Marcia Blaine School For Girls, Frog Pocket; los sellos Benbecula y Dalriada-, sería de imaginar que el país, el paisaje y el paisanaje tienen algo que ver.
Podría ser,
reconoce Sandison.
Veo en la música de todos nosotros una combinación entre la naturaleza y también quizá experiencias a las que todos nos hemos visto expuestos en este país,. puede ser la escuela, o la televisión. Cuando éramos jóvenes daban mucha ciencia ficción en la tele.
Y a la vez,
prosigue Eoin,
todo lo depresivo que tiene Escocia. El paisaje es bonito, pero fuera llueve y hace frío, y cuando no te diviertes fuera te quedas en casa y te imaginas un mundo mejor. Piensa en Cocteau Twins... ellos eran de un pueblo gris e industrial llamado Grangemouth. Si la música escocesa es frágil y escapista también es por cosas como estas.


Uno de los títulos más bellos de "Geogaddi" era el que decía music is math'. Un perfecto resumen de lo que son Boards Of Canada, una fusión de geometría y belleza, o belleza a partir de formas abstractas. Aseguran que hay una parte de ironía; sostienen que se resisten, según Eoin,
a creer que la música sólo sea eso; es un título contradictorio, porque la música sí es matemática, como lo demostró Pitágoras, pero creo que hay una pregunta fundamental: ¿la música la inventamos o canalizamos algo que ya existe? Porque si la música es emoción sólo puede salir de uno, pero si es matemáticas, existe en algún lugar, es una simple combinación estadística, y el artista lo que hace es transportar la música de un lugar a otro. La contradicción es que también creemos esto último, que un disco de Boards Of Canada ya existe antes físicamente en alguna otra parte y que nosotros hemos captado una señal. Nos gusta pensar que ahí fuera hay estaciones de radio que emiten infinitas melodías al éter. Es la gran duda: nunca sabremos si la música la inventamos o la reconocemos.


Esto último ya lo dijo Platón, y hace dos siglos ya lo defendía Beethoven; la idea del músico como médium. Pero, en cualquier caso, lo importante es que, venga de donde venga, la música existe y está al alcance de nuestros oídos. Es mejor no escrutar más de la cuenta, porque no hay respuestas, y la búsqueda de las mismas nos podrían volver locos. Nos podríamos convertir en un personaje de Lovecraft. Un disco de Boards Of Canada es un puzzle infinito de referencias, sensaciones y mensajes. A quienes no comprendieron la pasada referencia en estas páginas a "Music has the right to children" como una caca de perro -hay una cosa que se llama hipérbole y otra que se llama ironía, chicos-, habrá que decirlo en cristiano: Boards Of Canada es la materia de la que están hechos los sueños. Y maldito sea el que intente despertarnos.


Cuatro mitos sobre Boards of Canada


Texto Javier Blánquez


Los fans somos lo peor, pero a la vez hemos -han, mejor dicho- elevado a Boards Of Canada al estatus de culto gracias a una situación de poder que no muchos grupos consiguen garantizar a sus seguidores: la impotencia. Boards Of Canada es uno de esos pocos nombres de los que es imposible tenerlo todo -ni siquiera en formato MP3, para quienes rastrean rarezas en el pájaro o en la mula-, y mucho menos saberlo todo. No se puede porque no dejan. El misterio en el que siguen envueltos, especialmente su pasado y sus intenciones, ha dado pie a una serie de mitos, especulaciones y comportamientos excéntricos que Sandison y Eoin han aceptado aclarar por propia iniciativa. Ha llegado el momento. ¿Listos?


1 ¿Existe Realmente Todo el Material Previo a "Twoism"?


La discografía oficial de BoC no comienza con el "Hi scores Ep" en Skam, sino mucho antes. El listado de referencias de Music70 incluye un álbum previo incluso a "Music has the right to children" -"BoC maxima" (96), limitado a cincuenta copias en CD y algunas menos en cinta; la mayor parte del material fue regrabado y reciclado posteriormente para el debut en Warp- y una serie de EPs de los que nadie ha tenido nunca noticia y de cuya autenticidad -las filtraciones en la red siempre han sido incompletas, muchos temas extractados y robados de las cortinillas de la web oficial del dúo- nunca se ha podido dar plena garantía. ¿Ha existido alguna vez algo titulado "Closes volume 1", o "Hopper bay", o el tan sugerente "Acid memories"?
Existen,
asegura Sandison.
En su primera encarnación fueron cintas de cassette, y algunas las reeditamos en CD, pero las tiradas eran muy limitadas y sólo circularon entre amigos. Nos aseguramos muy bien de dárselas a la gente adecuada, en cuyas manos pudieran estar seguras; nunca le dimos nada a nadie que no conociéramos muy bien. Si alguno de esos discos se ha filtrado en internet es porque depositamos demasiada confianza en alguien o porque quizá distribuimos más cassettes de las necesarias, de algunos discos hay veinte treinta copias, pero de otros puede haber hasta cien.
En todos estos años,
continúa Eoin,
sólo han circulado ampliamente por internet 'BoC maxima' y las dos recopilaciones de 'old tunes'. Pero no me sorprendería si el año que viene ya empieza a verse `Acid memories' completo por ahí. De todos modos, que según qué cintas nuestras permanezcan inéditas es un milagro; cuando las hicimos nunca imaginábamos que pudiera inventarse algo llamado MP3.
Ahora, un consuelo para los fans: aparte de un EP para el 2006, el plan más ambicioso de Boards Of Canada para el futuro es editar una caja con una amplia selección del material comprendido entre 1987 y 1995. "Quizá lo hagamos con Warp". Por favor.


2 ¿Por qué no Tocan Nunca en Directo?


De Boards Of Canada se recuerdan sólo tres conciertos: uno en la fiesta del décimo aniversario de Warp, otro en Escocia en un paraje natural y un tercero en una antigua edición del festival All Tomorrow's Parties y bajo previa petición de los chicos de Autechre. Desde entonces, nada. Pero ese silencio escénico va a cambiar, como mínimo el año que viene.
Queremos tocar,
confirma Sandison,
pero queremos que sean fechas muy especiales y muy bien escogidas. Todavía no sabemos nada porque lo estamos hablando con Warp; ellos quieren que toquemos en Norteamérica y nosotros preferimos hacerlo en Europa, y no sabemos qué haremos al final. Pero si tocamos en Europa, nos gustaría que fuera en espacios especiales, en entornos naturales o en sitios bonitos. Igual hacemos algún festival, pero tienen que ser festivales que nos atraigan por alguna razón especial. Queremos que sea un directo analógico y trabajado, sin ordenadores ni softwares de por medio. No nos gustan los directos de laptop. La música electrónica tendría que recuperar un poco la fisicidad de entonces, ese tocar máquinas. Nos encantaría ir a Barcelona, por qué no.
iQue vengan, que vengan!


3 ¿ Incluyen Boards of Canada Mensajes Satánicos en sus Temas??


Los hechos: "Geogaddi" dura exactamente 66 minutos y 6 segundos -el número de la bestia-, y uno de sus temas se titula "Devil's in the details". El tema "Amo Bishop Roden" alude a una de las víctimas de la carnicería de Waco, cuando la secta de los Davidianos dirigida por David Koresh cometió suicidio colectivo antes de la entrada por la fuerza del FBI en la granja en la que se concentraban; escuchando con atención algunos tracks aparecen voces que deben reproducirse al revés, o parecen psicofonías; "Sixtyten", en "Music has the right to childen", incluye una serie de números recitados por una voz de niño que algunos fans, como si estuvieran interpretando la cábala, han intuido que esconden algún significado o mensaje secreto, como si fueran los números de "Perdidos"-ya saben, 4 8 15 16 23 42.
A veces hacemos cosas en los discos destinadas a provocar ideas o estados de ánimo; otras son pistas, trampas o elementos gratuitos que ponemos ahí para que la gente se interrogue sobre ellos. No estamos metidos en ningún tipo de culto o religión oscura; es todo estética y juego,
explica Michael Sandison.
Una voz de un niño, o un diálogo descontextualizado, pueden ayudar a dar ese toque oscuro que buscamos, con un componente subliminal: escuchas algo muy bonito y luego, por debajo, estás escuchando algo tan oscuro que te dan escalofríos. Pero la mayoría de las veces hacemos cosas como un chiste,
según Eoin.
Si `Geogaddi' dura 66 minutos y 6 segundos es porque nos gusta acabar los discos con un largo silencio, y nuestro técnico de sonido lo vio claro y nos dijo '¿por qué no aprovechamos esta oportunidad para alargar el disco hasta 66 minutos y 6 segundos?' Y dijimos, 'pues claro'. No es un mensaje satánico: es una gran broma.


4 ¿Están locos sus fans?


Los fans de Boards Of Canada hacen cosas que, por ejemplo, nunca haría un fan de The Sean And Cake o Rocío Jurado. Antes de la salida de "The campfire headphase", hasta tres versiones distintas circulaban por Soulseek, y las tres eran falsificaciones, discos de fans imitadores que, aprovechando la coyuntura y las mínimas informaciones facilitadas del disco -número de temas, títulos- colgaron su música en internet para suplantar a los auténticos Boards Of Canada.
Me mandó un mail un amigo mío de Nueva Zelanda,
cuenta Marcus,
y me dijo 'he es- cuchado vuestro nuevo disco en Internet y es fantástico'. Yo no entendía nada. ¡Aún no se lo había mandado!
También hay fans que se inventan críticas, como el responsable del blog Angryrobot, que publicó un comentario tema a tema del disco absolutamente inventado al que respondieron con sus posts otros fans que destaparon el pastel e incluso un impersonator de Marcus Eoin que le decía cara a cara a Angryrobot que su crítica era falsa.
Pero no era yo,
asegura Marcus.
No sólo nos falsifican los discos, itambién nuestras identidades!
. Muchos fans de Boards Of Canada creen firmemente que existe un maxi del 2002 titulado "Lavender trapezoids", pero eso que circula por Soulseek es, en realidad, un EP del productor IDM inglés CiM. Y así hasta el infinito. Pero si en algo se demuestra que los fans más fans de Boards están mal de la azotea es en los precios que se pueden llegar a pagar por algunos de sus discos. Hace dos meses se puso a subasta en eBay un test pressing en vinilo azul y por una solacara de cuatro canciones de "Geogaddi". Lo subastó un tal 'amtiskaw', y lo compró un tal 'lenapiem' por 215 libras (unos 315 euros).
Conocemos a 'amtiskaw', es un ex empleado de Warp que dejó el trabajo y ahora está montando un negocio, necesita el dinero y por eso se vende todos esos discos raros. Pero él no es el problema,
dice Michael Sandison entre risas.
El problema es el loco que paga más de 200 libras por un trozo de plástico azul.
Un tipo que, hace poco, y sin pestañear, se gastó 70 libras en el primer maxi de Jega y 120 en el primero de Bola, ambos editados por Skam, el sello en el que se dieron a conocer Boards Of Canada tras ser fichados por Autechre. Sí, hay fans que están muy mal o es que les sobra el dinero. O es que Boards Of Canada son tan grandes que no hay más remedio que enloquecer por ellos.


Translated text[edit]

Boards of Canada: What Dreams Are Made Of[edit]

Text: Javier Blanquez


Photographs: Peter Iain Campbell


[English translation contributed by a reader of this site, who hopes that anyone who sees where it can be improved or corrected will go ahead and make the needed changes.]


We are not going to find out just now why Boards of Canada is an essential group and a luminary for those who listen to music - we could add "electronic", but it would be irrelevant; they are already above genres. For seven years and three records, their dreamlike atmospheres and their melodies able to grab you like the proverbial hook (? translation uncertain), have been the accompaniment to our nights and our days. And every time a new album is delayed we notice that void in the stomach, typical of love or abandonment. Since we need them, they have finally thrown us a scrap and have released a third album, sandy and austere: "The campfire headphase". A new mystery that has brought us to their very own Scotland in search of answers.


In a Beautiful Place out in the City


"I thought you were phantoms, that you didn't really exist". It's not the best thing I could have said on first meeting two people whose records are like the air that we have breathed all our lives, but it's how the conversation began. There was no other way. They smile, as if to say "well, here we are". They are normal, they look like anyone else, with an urban style, baggy clothes and bold colours; they wear rings on their fingers, wet-look hair gel, two days' growth of beard, perfectly sculpted. They are neither monks nor ghosts. They are ordinary people, with the difference that they record for Warp and others don't. Where are we? What are Boards of Canada doing here? Outside it's raining and the ground glimmers with the night dew of streetlights as darkness falls. It's nice inside and horrible music is playing; it's an Edinburgh cafeteria with springy sofas, and Michael Sandison, on the right, and Marcus Eoin, on the left, are here in the flesh while they drink tea with milk and organic juice.

Especially when we started working with Warp, we decided that we didn't want to put a face to our music, because when that happens the personality of the artist is put ahead of the music, and that weakens its whole effect,
says Sandison to justify an almost ascetic isolation that has kept them in the half-shadows, semi-anonymous, for more than a decade.
The problem,
Eoin goes on,
is that when you efface your identity, you disappear, and that gives rise to all sorts of speculations about who you are. But now that people have accepted our music, there is no need for us to hide away to protect it. The earlier ambiguity is no longer so important.
Yes, the mysterious Boards of Canada are no longer hiding themselves away. They are real and they have decided to grant one of those very rare interviews that they give face-to-face to explain what they need to about the mystery that seems to surround their life and work and, of course, to explain the details of "The campfire headphase" (Warp / PIAS, 05), their third album in eight years and a subtle change of direction to a musical style that, if they had earlier pivoted around abstract electronica, sepia-toned hip-hop and dream melodies, is now more of the same - and equally sublime in its key moments - but with that element of earthy ivy-clad folk that had already come to the fore in the most opaque corners of the fascinating "Geogaddi" (Warp, 02). Indeed, if anything has been a constant in the music of Boards of Canada in the last fifteen years - remember that Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin have been making music from the start of the last decade, releasing cassettes in very limited editions on their now inactive Music70 label - it's a mossy and turquoise-hued psychedelia, legacy of the old English folk music from the early seventies and layered with electronics that always seek to sound old, like a keepsake that turns up after thirty years at the bottom of a trunk.
If you could see the records that we have in our collection,
continues Michael,
you would understand our influences much better. We are always looking for something new, even though it might be thirty years old, because we are the kind of people who soon get bored with what we already know. Electronic music is perhaps the area that we have explored the least, we have always been more influenced by strange and unfamiliar hybrids. There are people who would be surprised to learn that we admire Stevie Wonder and Marcos Valle, that we love Brazilian music. But it's for a reason: that is music that fills space.

Anyone who has listened to Boards of Canada, even just once and without getting deeply into it, will understand perfectly what Michael Sandison is saying. All the work that came before "The campfire headphase" was preceded by a search for a specific marked-out space, a wide space in which things happen, air flows or the sun enters, and time seems to stay frozen, static, covered in dust: it is in this very seclusion that the essence of Boards of Canada appears: the feelings, the memories, the darkness and the shadows, flashes of deja vu for things that never happened. One listens to Boards of Canada and feels like the child who is climbing the wooden ladder, going up to the attic in his grandfather's house, and who finds, amid the cobwebs and the woodworm, a treasure-store of yesteryear in the form of books, old stone disks and abandoned household utensils. To find out if they have managed to achieve this again with their third album, it will suffice simply to check out their two tracks "Peacock tail" and "Dayvan cowboy". And then you let out a sigh of relief, because the wait has, yet again, been worth it.


A Turquoise Past


As well as filling space, the music of Boards of Canada fills time. In their own way, these Scots are like the flip-side of Kraftwerk: if Ralf and Florian would like to recreate a future using machines, a future that they would never have and which would give them a melancholy and adventurous look, Boards of Canada imagine a past that never existed and which, as a result, they have never lost. The supposed nostalgia for a lost age that has always been a topic of discussion with "Music has the right to children" (Warp, 98), for example, is not at all real, but is imaginary and idealised.
We simply don't strike you as being two guys with identity issues who are looking to recapture their childhood, do we?,
says Eoin with a smile. Sandison goes further.
If we put a certain feeling into a track, it can and should be possible to transfer that feeling to another person. And then that person can evoke personal memories from certain sounds or melodies: moments of great happiness or tragedy, loss of loved ones. Music fuels emotions, but our emotions are not the same as yours. Those images of childhood ... they are not our nostalgia, but an aesthetic resource that can awaken nostalgia in others.
Boards Of Canada play games with time. They compose their tracks like someone who cultivates a vineyard and who bottles wine: carefully nurturing their development, worrying about the sun and good weather, and waiting for the perfect moment of maturity so the full flavour can be brought out. Already from the distant "Twoism" (Music70, 95) and the masterly "Hi scores" (Skam, 96) a Boards of Canada record seems to come from a remote and uncertain past: it could be the Middle Ages or the Eighties, but it was always indistinguishable and ancestral. "The campfire headphase" sounds even older,
recorded using the techniques of the Seventies, in the style of James Taylor, it sounds not so much like folk, but like the mainstream rock of that era, especially in the guitars,
according to Sandison.
But it is still our own sound, with a layer of beauty on top and one of bitterness underneath, dark and unsettling.
Those who label the sound of Boards Of Canada "pastoral and bucolic" leave out, in doing so, the interesting part of the whole: the shadows, the spectral voices, the grey atmospheres, the cobwebs.
The label "bucolic" is undoubtedly a simplification
admits Marcus.
Words like 'pastoral' or 'hippy'... that has never been our intention. For me, that conjures up images of burning incense, and I don't like that.
Each Boards of Canada album is a colour. "Hi scores" was aquamarine, like the open air on the Atlantic shore. "Music has the right to children" was turquoise, rich and beautiful, but also sad, and "Geogaddi" was sunset orange, mingling heat and cold, like sadness at watching the sun go down while you contemplate its beauty. "The campfire headphase" is something between yellow and green, like wheat or sand. On this subject Michael Sandison says:
It's true that there is a kind of synaesthetic approach in what we do, and we take great care in the design of the records so that it expresses the mood of the music within. 'Music has the right to children' was an open-sky record, and `Geogaddi' was more claustrophobic. I see this new album as being like a desert, hot and spacious. We very much think of the songs as having a limited colour palette, and it is perhaps for this reason that 'The campfire headphase' looks washed-out, as if bleach had been squirted onto it.

The new record indeed sounds acoustic - with strummed guitars layered over samples of real percussion and snatches of ambient sound that are like hot air, as much electronic as folk and giving even Four Tet lessons on how to innovate and to marvel at folktronica. Boards of Canada have even taken on a connection with the magical Great Britain of seventies folk music, with references to vegetation and links to romantic myth. Once again, outside of time.


The Geometry of Emo


Where does the emotion come from that can be felt in every second of Boards of Canada? It is not just a happy marriage of melody, ambience and allusions to the hidden side of the heart. There must be more to it. As parents to a whole generation of Scottish electronic artists - Christ., Marcia Blaine School For Girls, Frog Pocket, the Benbecula and Dalriada labels - I'd like to think that the country, the landscape, and the people in it have got something to do with it.
It may well be so,
acknowledges Sandison.
I see in all of our music a combination between nature and also perhaps experiences that we have all had in this country, be it school or television. When we were growing up there was a lot of science fiction on TV.
At the same time,
adds Eoin,
there's the whole depressing side of Scotland. The countryside is pretty, but outside it rains and it's cold, and when there's nothing to keep you amused out there you stay in and imagine a better world. Think of the Cocteau Twins ... they were from a grey industrial town called Grangemouth, If Scottish music is fragile but also escapist it's because of things like these.

One of the most beautiful tracks of "Geogaddi" was the one that says that 'music is math'. A perfect summary of what Boards of Canada are, a fusion of geometry and beauty, or beauty from abstract forms. They assure us that that there is a touch of irony; but, according to Eoin, they maintain that they resist believing that music is only that; it's a contradictory title, because music really is maths, as Pythagoras showed, but I believe that there is a fundamental question: do we invent music or are we channelling something that already exists? Because if music is just emotion then it can only come from within one, but if it is maths, then it exists in some place, it is a simple statistical combination, and what the artist is doing is transporting the music from one place to another. The contradiction is that we also believe that last point, that a Boards of Canada record already physically exists in some other place and that we have picked up a signal. We like to think that there are radio stations out there that are broadcasting infinite melodies into the ether. It's the big question: we will never know whether we invent music or recognise it.


Plato made that same point, and Beethoven defended it two centuries ago; the idea of the musician as a medium. But, in any case, what matters most is that, wherever it comes from, music exists and is available for us to hear. It's better not to look into the matter too deeply, because there are no answers, and searching for them could drive us mad. We could end up like one of Lovecraft's characters. A Boards of Canada album is an infinite puzzle of references, feeling and messages. To those people who didn't understand the earlier reference in these pages to "Music has the right to children" as a dog poop - guys, there's this thing called hyperbole, and there's another one called irony - but to put it quite simply: Boards of Canada is what dreams are made of. And damned be anyone who tries to wake us up.


Four myths about Boards of Canada


Text: Javier Blánquez


We fans are the worst, but at the same time we - or more properly they - have elevated Boards of Canada to cult status thanks to a situation of power that not many groups manage to confer upon their followers: that of powerlessness. Boards of Canada is one of the few names for which it is impossible to have all their work - not even in MP3 format, for which they trawl for rarities on "the bird" [i.e., Soulseek] or on "the mule" [?eMule, which had many Spanish users] - far less to become familiar with it all. You can't because they don't let you. The mystery in which they remain shrouded, especially as regards their past and their motives, has given rise to a series of myths, speculations and weird behaviours that Sandison and Eoin have voluntarily agreed to clear up. The time has come. Are you ready?


1 Does all of the material before "Twoism" really exist?


The official discography of BoC does not start with the "Hi Scores" EP on Skam, but much earlier. The list of references on Music70 includes an album even earlier than "Music has the right to children" - "Boc Maxima" (96), limited to 50 copies on CD and fewer copies on tape; most of the material was later re-recorded and recycled for their Warp debut - and a series of EPs that no one knows anything about and whose authenticity - the leaks on the Internet have always been incomplete, many tracks lifted or pilfered from behind the curtains of the duo's official website - it has never been possible to guarantee fully. Was there ever something titled "Closes volume 1", or "Hooper bay", or the so evocatively-titled "Acid Memories"?
They do exist,
maintains Sandison.
In their first incarnation they were cassette tapes, and we re-recorded some of them on CD, but the releases were very limited and they only circulated among our friends. We took great care to give them to the right people, in whose hands they would be safe; we never gave anything to people unless we knew them very well. If some of those releases have leaked on the Internet it's because we placed too much trust in someone, or because we distributed more copies than we needed to, there are twenty, thirty copies of some releases, but up to a hundred copies of others.
In all these years,
continues Eoin,
only 'BoC maxima' and the two compilations of 'old tunes' have circulated widely on the Internet. But it wouldn't surprise me if, this coming year, we started seeing the complete 'Acid memories' appear out there. In any case, the fact that our tapes remain unreleased is a miracle; when we made them, we had no idea that anyone would invent this thing called MP3.
Now, some consolation for the fans: aside from an EP for 2006, Boards of Canada's most ambitious plan for the future is to release a box set with a wide selection of material covering the period 1987 to 1995. "Maybe we will do it with Warp". Yes, please!


2 Why don't you ever play live?


Of Boards of Canada only three concerts can be remembered: one for Warp's 10th anniversary party, one in a natural setting in Scotland, and a third at an old edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival and at the request of the lads from Autechre. Since then, nothing. But this silence from the stage is going to change, at least this coming year.
We would like to play,
confirms Sandison,
but we want it to be very special dates and carefully selected. We don't know anything yet because we are still in discussions with Warp; they would like us to play in North America and we would prefer to play in Europe, so we don't know what we will end up doing. But if we do play in Europe, we would like it to be in special places, in natural surroundings or in attractive places. We may do some festival, but it would have to be festivals that appeal to us for some special reason. We would want it to be an analogue performance, played live, without computers and software in between. Live laptop performance doesn't appeal to us. Electronic music needs to take back some of its earlier physicality, the actual playing of machines. We'd love to come to Barcelona, why not?.
Yeah, go for it!


3 Do Boards of Canada include Satanic messages in their tracks?


The facts: "Geogaddi" is exactly 66 minutes 6 seconds long - the Number of the Beast - and one of its tracks is titled "The Devil Is In The Details". The track " Amo Bishop Roden" refers to one of the victims [translator's note: she was not in fact present - see link just given] in the carnage of Waco, when the Davidian sect led by David Koresh committed mass suicide before the FBI stormed the compound in which they were gathered. Listening carefully to some tracks reveals voices that should be played backwards, or which seem like psychophonies [ = recordings supposedly of the spirit world]; "Sixtyten", in "Music has the right to childen", includes a series of numbers recited by the voice of a child, which some fans, as though interpreting the Kaballah, have seen as having a hidden meaning or a secret message, as though they were the Numbers from the show "Lost" - you know, 4 8 15 16 23 42.
Sometimes we put things into the records that are meant to give rise to ideas or states of mind; others are clues, tricks or gratuitous details that we put there to get people discussing them among themselves. We aren't involved in any kind of cult or sinister religion. It all just aesthetics and games.
explains Michael Sandison.
The voice of a child, or some dialogue out of its context, can help to provide that dark touch that we are looking for, with a subliminal component: you are listening to something very pretty and then, underneath, you are hearing something so sinister that it gives you the shivers. But most of the time we do things as a joke.
according to Eoin.
If 'Geogaddi' lasts 66 minutes and 6 seconds it's because we wanted to end the record with a long silence, and our sound engineer had a bright idea and said to us 'why don't you take the opportunity to extend the play time to 66 minutes and 6 seconds' and we said 'let's do it'. It's not a Satanic message: it's a big joke.


4 Are your fans crazy?


Fans of Boards of Canada do things that, for example, a fan of The Sea and Cake or Rocío Jurado would never do. Before "The campfire headphase" was released, up to three different versions were circulating on Soulseek, and all three were fakes, put out by imitative fans who, taking advantage of the situation and the minimal information available about the release - the number of tracks, and the titles - uploaded their music to the Internet to pass themselves off as the real Boards of Canada.
A friend of mine from New Zealand sent me an email,
relates Marcus,
and he said to me 'I listened to your new release on the Internet and it's great! I was baffled. I hadn't sent it out yet!
There are also fans who make up reviews, like the one who runs the Angryrobot blog, who published a track-by-track rundown of the totally made-up record, to which others fans responded with their posts to lift the lid on the situation, and even a Marcus Eoin impersonator who told Angryrobot face to face that his review was a lie.
But it wasn't me,
insists Marcus.
They didn't just fake our records, but our identities as well!
Many fans of Boards of Canada are firmly convinced that there was a Maxi single from 2002 called "Lavender trapezoids", but what is going around on Soulseek is in fact an EP by the English IDM producer CiM. And so on, ad infinitum. But if anything shows that the most extreme fans of Boards of Canada are out of their minds, it's the prices that they can bring themselves to pay for some of their records. Two months ago a single-sided blue-vinyl test pressing with four songs from "Geogaddi" was auctioned on eBay. It was listed there by a certain 'amtiskaw' and it was bought for £215 (about 315 Euros) by someone calling themselves 'lenapiem' .
We know 'amtiskaw', he's a former employee of Warp who left the job and is now starting up a business, he needs the money and that's why he's selling off these rare records. But he isn't the problem,
says Michael Sandison with laughter.
The problem is the idiot who pays over £200 for a hunk of blue plastic.
The kind who, not so long ago, and without the slightest qualm, paid £70 for the first Maxi by Jega, and £120 for the first one by Bola, both released on Skam, the label on which Boards of Canada came to be known after being signed up by Autechre. Yes, some fans are horrible, or have wads of cash to spare. Or Boards of Canada are so great that you just can't help but be driven crazy by them.


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