Monday, 4 July 2011

19. Boards of Canada - Twoism

They aren't from Canada, they're from Scotland - the tricky bastards. I've known the name for years but could never be bothered to give them any time. A cooler than thou electronica duo, signed to Warp, no vocals, one probably has a beard, the other one will wear a hat, not to mention their self-conciously hip sleeves. The kind of men you suspect would bore the fuck out of you in the pub, telling you about an amazing Korg synthesizer they picked up at a car boot sale for ten quid.
'He had no idea man, it's a genuine miniKorg 700 and he didn't have a clue, didn't have a clue!'
'Yeah Mike, listen, I've got to run for my bus. I know I've hardly touched my pint, it's ok, you finish it for me, enjoy it. And no Mike, I can't come to the record fair with you next week, I'll be busy hammering nails into my scrotum then.'
And that's about it, that's about where my preconceptions end.

It's a surprise then to find their music is particularly humane and touching. And whilst it sounds at times that they may have based this whole album on the theme tune of the massively brilliant 1984 kid's tv show Chocky, they get away with it because the music is so affecting. It's often said that said BOC deal with themes of childhood and nostalgia, and that is exactly what I hear on Twoism. Much of it takes me back to my childhood in the eighties - suburban streets on a summer's night, riding my bike back from a mate's house in the twilight, the chemical factory on the other side of the estate, blinking away in the background. But most of all it takes me back to childhood imagination somehow. And the fact that whilst you were just a kid, in a normal town, you were instinctively aware how weird and strange being alive as a human being was. A child's innate understanding of the oddness of being born at a particular time in a particular place I suppose. Does that make any sense? It doesn't does it and now I sound stupid. Have a listen and tell me if you can hear what I'm struggling to explain.

The music here is mainly drum machines and analogue synths, that's the nuts of bolts of it, but that doesn't get anywhere close to describing the yearning BOC squeeze out of the simplest of tracks. Forget any preconceptions, this is beautiful, spooky, haunting stuff. But I bet one has a beard and the other one wears a hat.


  1. This review has actually made me want to listen to the album.

  2. Chocky scared the shit out of me.

  3. Chocky was my favourite tv show as a kid. Followed by Byker Grove.

  4. No, your favourite was Blossom. Or maybe Roseanne cos you fancied Darlene.

  5. I liked Let's Pretend. And My Two Dads.

  6. Blossom was the bomb.

  7. You nailed it my friend. I have fallen deeply into them a few years back and I cannot seem to get away from them. It has grown to be such a strong appreciation that I have begun gathering material to construct a film for a record of theirs. Music Has the Right to Children. Ive been trying to get permission or even some backing so It can be released officially but no responses. Anyone think they can help?