Boards of Canada

Boards of Canada

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Boards of Canada

Img_capt = (L-R) Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin, c. 1999
Img_size =
Landscape = Yes
Background = group_or_band
Alias = Hell Interface
Origin = Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Genre = IDM, Downtempo, Ambient, Psychedelic, Trip hop
Years_active = 1987 – present
Label = Warp, Skam, Music70
Associated_acts =
URL = []
Current_members = Michael Sandison
Marcus Eoin Sandison

Boards of Canada (BoC) are a Scottish electronic music duo consisting of brothers Michael Sandison (born June 1, 1970) and Marcus Eoin Sandison (born July 21, 1971). They are signed with Warp Records and have released several works on that label with little advertising and few interviews, while also having an elusive and obscure back-catalogue of releases on their self-run Music70 label. They have also recorded a few minor works under the alias Hell Interface.

Boards of Canada's music is reminiscent of the warm, scratchy, artificial sounds of 1970s media and contains themes of childhood, nostalgia and the natural world. Michael and Marcus have mentioned the documentary films of the National Film Board of Canada, from which the group's name is derived, as a source of inspiration.


Early years (1980s–1995)

Growing up in a musical family, brothers Michael and Marcus Eoin began playing instruments at a young age. They experimented with recording techniques at around the age of 10, using tape machines to layer cut-up samples of found sounds over compositions of their own. In their teens they participated in a number of amateur bands, however, it was not until 1986 when Marcus was invited to Michael's band that Boards of Canada was born.

By 1989, the band had been reduced to Sandison and Eoin. [Campbell, Peter I. and Goderich, S. " [ Matador Records' Boards of Canada Biography] " (Sep 1998), Matador Records. Retrieved on 2006-03-23.] In the early 1990s, a number of collaborations took place and the band put on small shows among the "Hexagon Sun" collective.

In early 2000, the website for the band, [] , removed the early discography of Boards of Canada, although some information has been preserved by fans. Early tape releases by Boards of Canada include "Play By Numbers", "Acid Memories", "Hooper Bay", and the earliest known release by the band is titled "Catalog 3". None of the material from those days is readily available, and since official Boards of Canada sources ignore the existence of this material, there seems to be little chance for this early material ever to resurface.

From "Twoism" onwards (1995–present)

filename = Boards_of_Canada_-_Aquarius.ogg
title = "Aquarius"
description = from "Music Has The Right To Children" (1998) ifdc|

format = Ogg

filename = Boards_of_Canada_-_Happy_Cycling.ogg
title = "Happy Cycling"
description = from "Peel Session" (1998) ifdc|

format = Ogg

filename = Boards_of_Canada_-_Julie_And_Candy.ogg
title = "Julie And Candy"
description = from "Geogaddi" (2002) ifdc|

format = Ogg

In 1995, the band made their first Hexagon Sun studio release, the EP "Twoism". Like earlier Music70 releases, it was produced in a self-financed limited run and was privately distributed, primarily to friends and labels. Unlike previous releases, however, a small number of copies were also released to the public through the IDM mailing list. Though not a widespread commercial release, it was considered of sufficient quality and worth to be subsequently re-pressed in 2002.

The band made another release in 1996; titled "Boc Maxima", it was a semi-private release that was notable for being a full-length album, and was the precursor to "Music Has the Right to Children", with which it shares many tracks.

Boards of Canada's first commercial release occurred after attracting the attention of Autechre's Sean Booth, of the English label Skam Records, one of many people sent a demo EP. Skam issued what was considered Boards of Canada's first "findable" work, "Hi Scores", in 1996. "Music has the Right to Children" was subsequently released in 1998. John Peel featured Boards of Canada on his BBC Radio 1 program in January of that year. The session featured two remixes from "Music Has the Right to Children" — "Aquarius (Version 3)" and "Olson (Version 3)" — along with the tracks "Happy Cycling" and "XYZ". Excluding "XYZ", the set was released on a Warp Records CD titled "Peel Session TX 21/07/1998".

Though never an actively touring band, Boards of Canada did perform a handful of shows. Early shows saw them supporting Warp labelmates Seefeel and Autechre in a handful of UK dates. They also participated in a few festivals and multi-artist bills, including two Warp parties: Warp's 10th Anniversary Party in 1999, and The Incredible Warp Lighthouse Party almost one year later. They made their most prominent showing in 2001 as one of the headliners at the Tortoise-curated All Tomorrow's Parties festival. They have not performed a live show since.

The band released a four-track EP, "In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country", in November 2000, their first original release in two years. The LP edition was pressed on sky blue vinyl. A full-length album, "Geogaddi", was then released in 2002. It was described by Sandison as "a record for some sort of trial-by-fire, a claustrophobic, twisting journey that takes you into some pretty dark experiences before you reach the open air again."Fact|date=March 2007

Throughout most of their career, Mike and Marcus chose not to publicize their brotherhood and were simply portrayed as childhood friends. Their kinship was finally revealed in a 2005 Pitchfork interview.Hoffmann, Heiko. " [ The Downtempo Duo] " (Sep 2005), Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2007-02-20.]

Their third album for Warp Records, "The Campfire Headphase", was released on 17 October 2005 (18 October in the United States). The album featured fifteen tracks, including "Peacock Tail", "Chromakey Dreamcoat," and "Dayvan Cowboy." Two versions of "Dayvan Cowboy" — the original and a remix by Odd Nosdam — are on the six-track EP, "Trans Canada Highway", which was released on 26 May 2006.

ound and methods

BoC's sound is a product of their use of analogue equipment, mix of electronic and conventional instrumentation, use of distorted samples as well as live and recorded lyrics, and their layering and blending of these elements.Pytlik, Mark. " [ The Colour & The Fire] " (Feb 2002), HMV magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-20.] Micallef, Ken. " [ Northern Exposure] " (Jul 2002), Remix magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-20.] Their avoidance of a purely synthetic sound gives their music a warmer, emotive quality often meant to inspire nostalgia. This is helped by the use of samples sourced from 1970s television shows and other media prevalent in the era of the brothers' shared childhood, especially the nature-inspired documentaries produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

Brief interludes or vignettes feature prominently in BoC's music. Such songs are often weaving melodies or speech accompanied by atmospherics to capture a specific moment or mood. They often last less than two minutes, but, as BoC state, "we write far more of [these] than the so-called 'full-on' tracks, and, in a way, they are our own favorites". BoC have written an enormous number of such fragments as well as full-length tracks, most of which have been held back from release. It does not appear that their music is made exclusively for commercial release; rather, albums seem to be the result of selecting complementary songs from current work. For instance, "Geogaddi"'s development involved the creation of 400 song fragments and 64 complete songs, of which 22 were selected (possibly 23, if the final track of complete silence is included). Says Marcus: "The idea of the perfect album is this amorphous thing that we're always aiming at […] the whole point of making music is at least to aim at your own idea of perfection."

Interviews with the Sandison brothers provide some insight into their creative inspiration. They have cited several acts that have influenced their work, including Joni Mitchell, The Incredible String Band ("we have all the String Band records […] our rural sensibilities are similar"),Poolman, Koen. " [ Play Twice Before Listening] " (Mar 2002), OOR magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-20.] The Beatles (" [they] really became enthralling to us through their psychedelism")Kyrou, Ariel & Leloup, Jean-Yves. " [ Two Aesthetes of Electronic Music] " (Jun 1998), Virgin Megaweb magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-20.] and My Bloody Valentine ("even if we don't sound like them, there's a connection in terms of the approach to music").

They have also expressed a strong interest in the power of subliminal messaging and their work is full of cryptic messages,Diddy, Mikey P. " [ Brainwashing, Misanthropy and Society: An Analysis of Boards of Canada's "Geogaddi"] ". Retrieved on 2006-03-23.] including references to numerology and cult figures such as David Koresh of the Branch Davidians, amongst other vague hints.Brown, Colin. " [ What the hell is up with Boards of Canada? Shorter analysis of "Geogaddi"] ". Retrieved on 2006-03-23.] When questioned about their aims in making such references, which have been said to have distanced some listeners from their work,Who|date=July 2008 BoC express themselves in neutral terms ("We're not religious at all [...] and if we're spiritual at all it's purely in the sense of caring about art and inspiring people with ideas.") while remaining fascinated with the ability of music to influence the minds of others (" [We] do actually believe that there are powers in music that are almost supernatural. I think you actually manipulate people with music..."). Nicholls, Steve. " [ Big Country] " (Mar 2001), XLR8R Issue 47. Retrieved on 2007-02-21.]


Major releases

* 1998: "Music Has the Right to Children" – (Warp/Skam) #193 UK
* 2002: "Geogaddi" – (Warp/Music70) #21 UK
* 2005: "The Campfire Headphase" – (Warp) #41 UK
* 2006: "Trans Canada Highway" – (Warp) #63 UK

"Old Tunes" and other oddities

Boards of Canada recordings have been found online, claiming to be original tracks from "Catalog 3", "Acid Memories", "Hooper Bay" and other pre-"Twoism" albums, but none have been officially acknowledged by Boards of Canada and many have been exposed as fake.

ee also

* Warp Records
* Music70
* Hexagon Sun Collective


External links

Official sites
* [ Boards of Canada official website]
* [ Boards of Canada] at MySpace
* [ Boards of Canada] at Warp Records
* [ Music70]
* [ Hexagon Sun]

* [ Boards of Canada] at xltronic

Unofficial/fan sites
* [ Boards of Canada wiki]
* [ Boards of Canada forum] at We Are The Music Makers

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  • Boards Of Canada — Pour les articles homonymes, voir BOC. Boards of Canada (BOC) est un duo écossais de musique électronique composé de Michael Sandison (né le 14 juillet 1971) et Marcus Eoin (né le 27 mai 1973). Ils ont réalisé de nombreux albums, les plus… …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Aquarius (сингл Boards of Canada) — У этого термина существуют и другие значения, см. Aquarius. Aquarius Мини альбом …   Википедия

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