Search For Seclusion

title Search For Seclusion
author Dan Rule
publication The Age (Melbourne, Australia)
date 2005/11/11
Search For Seclusion is an interview by Dan Rule originally published in the November 11, 2005 edition of The Age (Melbourne Australia) freesheet newspaper.

Original Text[edit]

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.

Scottish electronic duo Boards of Canada have done their best to remain a mystery. Dan Rule investigates.

FOR a pair of artists who never release singles or music videos and rarely play live or speak to the press, it is all the more fascinating that Mike Sandison and Marcus Eoin (aka Boards of Canada) have remained two of the most quietly revered, referenced and imitated contemporary musicians around.

Since the wondrously sprawling, downbeat electro-psych of their 1998 debut Music Has the Right to Children and its dark and abrasive 2002 follow-up Geogaddi, the Scottish pair have assumed mysterious, almost ethereal guises.

But, in a rare interview, arranged to discuss their long-awaited third album The Campfire Headphase, both Sandison, 34, and Eoin, 32, are willing to shed some light on their work.

I think, early on, we decided that we didn't want to cloud the sound of our music with the usual interference,
says Sandison.
You know, the personality chitter-chatter.
We're constantly driving for this really powerful, introspective, escapist thing with the music.

This sense of escapism has strong roots in their childhood. Following a two-year stay in Canada between 1979 and 1980, Sandison and Eoin - who, almost secretly, are brothers (Eoin has always used his middle name to avoid comparisons to electronic duo Orbital, also brothers) - began making their first crude recordings while still in primary school, using a dictation machine and a radio-cassette deck to multi-track instruments with snippets of TV and radio.

Of particular interest to the young brothers were the educational films produced by National Film Board of Canada.

The music and imagery from children's TV of that time was almost psychedelic,
says Eoin.
Even though we were kids, we were exposed to all that stuff right at the point so it's like an imprint that has stayed with us for decades.

This imprint is present in The Campfire Headphase, which, replete with warbling, detuned guitars and sweeping, sun-faded melodics, evokes clouded, distant reminiscence; a sound far removed from the brooding complexity of Geogaddi.

After working together for so long, the brothers have an intuitive, almost telepathic creative relationship.

I can use a lot of our own shorthand code words to describe to Marcus a certain sound,
says Sandison.
So, if I say something like, 'This counter-melody needs to be more petrol-coloured' or 'This needs a yellow circular glissando', he knows exactly what I mean. We have a near-psychic way of working.

The Campfire Headphase is out now through Warp/Inertia.


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