Brothers Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin are not prone to faffing about. To access a website which contained news of the impending Boards Of Canada album Tomorrow’s Harvest, fans were simply required to compile a 36-digit code which was scattered amongst a Limited Edition 12” single, BBC Radio 1 broadcasts, Cartoon Network adverts, a Boards of Canada fan site, YouTube clips and of course at Tokyo intersections… What could be simpler? This was combined with an open invitation to a pre-release listening party (co-ordinates which led fans to the middle of a desert, where two lone-standing speakers stood) and a one time only live stream of the album, which near enough broke the Internet. Not only did the average Boards of Canada fan temporarily assume the form of an electronic Indiana Jones, but Daft Punk’s grandiose return to earth was made to look like a rainy Sunday morning car boot sale in comparison… Already an impressive feat, but does the album merit such abstruse promotion?
Tomorrow’s Harvest‘s beginning is cinematic to say the least. ‘Gemini’ is a tenebrous and sombre affair. Without a regular pulse, this atmospheric opener demonstrates a retro, ghostly side of the brothers, a theme which appears throughout the album (specifically ‘Transmisiones Ferox’, ‘Collapse’ and ‘Uritual’). Tomorrow’s Harvest also reiterates the duo’s rhythmical expertise. These abstract beats are injected with soul, corrupting the listener’s mind without detracting from the overall essence of the piece. Lead single ‘Reach For The Dead’ demonstrates the subtle complexity of Boards of Canada’s drum programming, sophisticated rhythms are challenged as the track grows and develops. ‘Sick Times’ could almost be considered a hat-tip in Burial (aka William Bevan)’s favour, and songs such as ‘Cold Earth’ and ‘Come To Dust’ are driven by grooves akin to that of dubstep. The use of a vocoder in ‘Palace Posy’ (the most animated track of the album) creates a subtle, almost funk-like element, whereas an almost hypnotic use of keys are bestowed upon ‘Jacquard Cyclosa’ and ‘Split Your Infinities’, the side-effects of which can cause disorientation and a lack of mental awareness.
With albums as anticipated as this, it is best not to beat around the bush. At 62 minutes, the experience can become fatiguing, but in spite of this, it can most definitely be worth it. To the die-hard fans willing to follow the duo into the desert, this album will be regarded along with Music Has the Right to Children and Geogaddi as some of their greatest work. However, to any non-believers, do not expect to be converted. This collection of works is less accessible and quite frankly less friendly than anything else they have released. This album is sophisticated, and is also deeply complex. To the unfocused listener, this album’s beautiful subtleties will fall upon deaf ears, but to the attentive, Tomorrow’s Harvest will engross both your attention and your time.