Friday, 24 May 2013

Track Review: Boards of Canada - Reach For The Dead


2013 is, without question, shaping up to be one of the finer (and most busy) musical calendars of recent times. With the announcement that Warp favorites Boards of Canada are set to return after almost seven years of silence with the duo's new album Tomorrow's Harvest, the leaders in the fine art of electronic music have unveiled the first snapshot of what to expect from their forth studio LP. And given fans are still in requirement to wait a further two weeks for the album's drop (which works out to feel roughly like 246 years in waiting time), it's good to know the UK label are showing remorse to those dying for some hinted contexts. It's with this then why they're, most likely, in refusal to let their fans go through the mill of counting down the days ahead. And the resulting track, Reach For The Dead is one that will definitely capture the listener's imagination.

So we march head-first into the Scottish duo's partaking of the atmospheric and the quite theatrical and there's an almighty halt of action. Despite what the imagery may entail, this is not a track requiring much journeying. Instead, Boards of Canada's music here is slowly revealing; brass-like synths and thudding drum beats carefully and delicately leading the track through in sweeps of ambient glare and finely-tuned strokes of sun. It's the brightness and the unopposed colour of the piece that is so important and thus inviting here. And as we finally soak ourselves into the partially-blurred analog of electronics and drum beats, the music kicks its hooves from off the dust of the backdrop and straight into a lead of fractionating beats and a symphonic-like atmosphere that so brilliantly captures the mystery and the distance of the wasteland plains the cover presents for us.  It's a track that demonstrates an understanding of the need for progression. And while some may see the decision to change gear at the two minute mark (roughly just past the track's half-way point), it doesn't break what is a brisk, but gracious movement out into the openness the track distinctly generates around itself.



Thus as we close the track on a gentle fading of synths and beats, Boards of Canada demonstrate with conviction that even after all these years, they remain one of the finest architects of sound that both absorbs and leads its listener through its scenery. More-so, the invitation to explore and self-discover is something that can appeal to all listeners regardless of our means of interraction. The contexts opening out slowly in Reach For The Dead are so perfectly captured for immersion, yet remaining equally profound in the variety of meanings, it's the main reason why I refuse to listen to this track during the period the album is away from access. Boards of Canada's music is one to be taken as a progression - as such like a story slowly unveiling itself - and I feel that to take repeated listens to Reach For The Dead could undermine the track's potential relation as just one component to a even greater experience on an album-scale. Nevertheless, for many this will only go to increase their interest and their excitement to experience Tomorrow's Harvest's offering in full. And as their discography has demonstrated for us in many a repeated listen, their music gives the listener a chance to respond not just from a conventionally audible one, but more from one that lies either on the psychological scale, or even a philosophical one likewise. Tomorrow's Harvest is out June 5th via Warp.
~Jordan

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