Dusting Off... Boards of Canada's Music Has the Right to Children
What is it?
Released in 1998, Music Has the Right to Children is the first full-length album released by electronic music duo Boards of Canada. Despite their name, BoC are actually two brothers from Scotland – the name is a reference to the National Film Board of Canada, whose documentaries and programmes have been a big influence on the pair's music.
Specialising in warm-sounding, emotive electronica, Marcus Eoin and Michael Sandison are renowned for using unusual techniques to achieve their sound, such as recording onto old cassette decks or VHS recorders, but the pair are notoriously tight-lipped about their recording techniques and generally avoid contact with the media; the rarely give interviews and live performances are equally few and far between. This is an outfit that is very much at home in the recording studio.
Despite this secrecy – or perhaps as a result of it – the pair have built up quite an air of mystery around them and are known for hiding subliminal messages within their music. Even if you've never picked up a BoC album before, you'll probably be surprised how many tracks you recognise; their music has been used on heaps of TV shows including Top Gear, CSI: Miami, Monkey Dust, Spaced and Horizon, among many, many others.
Music Has the Right to Children is, like many of their records, quite ambient and works just as well cranked loud or playing in the background, but it's also one of those records where you can notice something new every time you listen to it. Richly textured and layered with barely intelligible vocal clips, obscure samples and nature sounds, this is a record you can really get lost in.
Particular highlights include tracks like 'Roygbiv' and 'Turquoise Hexagon Sun', but this isn't album designed with catchy, radio-friendly tunes in mind. Instead, it is a dense tapestry of soundscapes and broken beats; atmospheric, haunting and playful, but tinged with melancholy and nostalgia.
Why should I revisit?
BoC have been a huge influence on many artists – Radiohead in particular went through a phase of championing their music to anyone who would listen – in fact, BoC are largely a word-of-mouth phenomenon; you're unlikely to see any flashy advertising campaigns bearing their name, but in a way that's what makes discovering their music so special. With only four studio albums released over the last 17 years, BoC aren't the most prolific act, but when you listen to how intricately crafted their recors are, it's easy to understand why.
Who will enjoy it?
If you're a fab of experimental electronic music by the likes of Aphex Twin and Dan Deacon, or even some of Royksopp's more downtempo material, this is well worth a listen. It's a bit of a slow burner, but give it time and soon you won't be able to live without it.