Album Review: The Campfire Headphase by Boards of Canada
Fairly Good, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 70 Based on rating 7/10
Just their third missive in the past seven years, The Campfire Headphase displays Boards of Canada changing few of their methods but more of their sounds. The key difference between this record and its predecessors is the advent of unprocessed, recognizable guitars (a small heresy to portions of their fanbase). Although it smacks of a gimmick, and does occasionally remove the mysticism from their productions, it marks a good addition to their palette.
So anticipated was this album that some geeks posted their own fakes on the internet. The enigmatic Scottish duo, whose 1998 sleeper hit Music Has the Right to Children is a canonised classic, didn't fret one jot as the imposters were soon weeded out by their legion of fans. Their intricate, melodious music is too difficult to replicate easily; in fact, it's taken Marcus Eoin and Mike Sandison more than three years to follow up the sinister Geogaddi.
Boards of Canada’s first album, Music Has the Right To Children, was my entry into beat-driven electronic music. Having cut my teeth on the thorny but rewarding complexities of Stockhausen, Berio and Xenakis, it was refreshing to soak up BOC’s surrealistically sunny vibe, an ordered miasma of scenically rhythmic ambiances where the innocently familiar and the mildly alien regularly switched places, creating a universe that was never too unfriendly and often achingly beautiful. Melody was a primary component of the Scottish duo’s allure; they managed to spin out tunes that sat just above any background harmony, the two elements joining forces at key moments of stunning clarity.