No, no. This one isn’t bad at all, but to the people who tell you that this is just as good as Music Has the Right to Children (or worse, the people who tell you that this is better), just no.
Firstly, and this is a life-lesson as important as “Wrap it before you tap it, protect your stump before you hump, no glove, no love!” Saying that the music sounds better high is not a compliment. It’s actually the complete opposite, as insulting as saying “I’d only have sex with her if I were drunk.” And while I’m only mildly enjoy hanging out with Mary Jane, I do think that there are better activities to be engaging in while high than listening to Geodaddi and staring at the cover as it seemingly reverberates. The fact that this record ends with 2-minutes of silence (I’ve run into someone who called this “a cover of ‘4,33’” and I felt my intestines writhe inside my body, moving to strangle him to death) basically sums up the pretentiousness of the album. It’s like you have to listen to the album high to really glimpse through the “Magic Window.” Bullshit. For those of you who’ve had life-changing experiences while listening to Geodaddi, can I ask what happens when you hear Music Has the Right to Children? Do you momentarily shrug off these mortal coils and behold God?
The fact that I struggle to find anything to say about a 66-minute album reveals Geodaddi’s weakness: there really isn’t anything to say about it. Looking at the album length of Music Has the Right to Children for the first time, I’m actually shocked that that album was over an hour in length, because it never felt like it. For the record, I am a huge fan of that album, deeming it to be near-perfect, having never heard an album so honest and emotional, in a genre that’s mostly cold and distant. Here, the only times I’m ever reminded ofMusic Has the Right to Children are when the duo are trying hard to replicate that album’s magic. “Energy Warning” is the social commentary track a la “One Very Important Thought.” When the track came on through shuffle, my then-girlfriend asked me to move to another track because the fact that a kid was saying the words made her feel sad. I don’t feel anything, and that’s not because I’m a sociopath who doesn’t care, but because the words aren’t very clear and the delivery itself is rushed. You could, I suppose, argue that that was intentional, that that is what happens to people trying to raise awareness of the irreversible damage to the environment – they are literally drowned out by desensitized listeners. Elsewhere, the dialogue on “Dandelion” is taken from a nature documentary, reminding us of Boards of Canada’s namesake, but “Wildlife Analysis” did the same thing without resorting to such a forced way. Elsewhere, opener “Ready Let’s Go” tries to do what “Wildlife Analysis” did, but this one is a single idea while that one managed to condense an entire ambient album’s worth of ideas into the same runtime.
Now, because this thing is 66-minutes in length and ~100 MB of your finite hard-drive (worse, if you’re an audiophile who doesn’t believe in mp3’s when there are flac’s and scary, when you think about the infinite amount of music in the world), I will say that some of it is worth keeping around. I’m unaware of the Salad Fingersphenomenon, but “Beware the Friendly Stranger” lives up to its namesake, and for 40 seconds, actually stirs up an emotion in me (horror; it sounds like it belongs in one of those early Silent Hill video games, the ones with terrible camera settings). The rest of the short tracks though, are only here to provide brief reprises; a juxtaposition for the ridiculously lengthy tracks around them (ie. “Alpha and Omega” – the only danceable number a la “A Eagle in Your Mind.” But7 minutes? Yeesh…). But like “Ready Let’s Go,” they’re just single ideas, the stuff that anyone could create with a synth and some weed. There’s certainly nothing wrong with “I Saw Drones” (great title, by the way) other than the fact that anyone could do it with a little bit of know how, and that its oscillations (in a slightly different form) take up the first thirty seconds of “A Is to B as B Is to C,” which then proceeds to go nowhere fast for another minute. Whatever happened to the melodies of “Roygbiv?” I suppose “Driving Station” has one – it sounds like you’re driving down the deserted road and your radio briefly filters a classical piece before cutting off and all that’s left is the wind around you. That one’s okay.
As for the longer tracks? Keep “Music is Math” (the vocals sound like a ghost choir of children), “1969” (again, great vocals) and “The Beach at Redpoint.” These are the tracks that remind us of the evocative nature of Boards of Canada, the ones that allow us to paint blushingly romantic landscapes that ought to open bad sci-fi novels like, “I am staring out into the desolate wasteland, looking for something, but I don’t know what.” Also, “Gyroscope,” despite being a decent Autechre imitation by a band who made their own brand of IDM instead of following others (though the vocals are ummistakably theirs) and “Sunshine Recorder,” for remembering what a melody is (the higher-pitched keyboards that break through). Put those on an EP, and you’ve got the best Boards of Canada EP there ever was.