Boards Of Canada: Geogaddi

Boards Of Canada: Geogaddi

-

Boards Of Canada

Album: Geogaddi
Label: Warp

One of electronic music's most fully realized acts, Boards Of Canada quietly created its own aesthetic universe on 1998's Music Has The Right To Children, an unassuming album built around hardwired heart murmurs and melancholy memories of elementary-school educational films. On paper, the Scottish duo is indistinguishable from the countless acts straining the resources of trip-hop and ambient music, but like Aphex Twin and Brian Eno, Boards Of Canada is simply better than most of its peers. The group's eagerly awaited Geogaddi sags a bit under its own weight, almost as though Marcus Eoin and Michael Sandison spent too much time reading their old reviews. But when it comes together, the album throbs with the kind of jaw-dropping beauty that serves as Boards Of Canada's exclusive terrain. Taking a cue from the duo's 2000 EP In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country, Geogaddi brims with monastic, almost ancient reverence. Like Sigur Rós, the group seems enraptured by the earthbound religion of geology; the album breathes warmth over beats that plod and hover like time-lapse footage of sighing geysers and glowing volcanoes. The results can be overwhelmingly moving, but also overbearing after 66 minutes of breathless wonder. The best tracks ("Julie And Candy," "1969") wrap Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine into a post-chill-out cocoon, vacuuming sheets of space as they bend and flex in invisible patterns. Other songs suggest frustratingly unfulfilled promise. Clipped at the one-minute mark, "Over The Horizon Radar" could be the ambient album of the year, if given space to breathe. Ultimately, Boards Of Canada seems a little too awed by its own creation, and unsure how to translate its labored effects to the effortless language that made Music Has The Right a sort of whispered manifesto. For all its faults, Geogaddi is astonishing, just not the epochal album seemingly still germinating in the duo's hard-drive.