While Boards of Canada need little introduction, it didn’t stop them mounting a tantalising album teaser campaign of codes and whispers for ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’, their first major release in eight long years, which happily delivered musically amidst a storm of hype.
A far cry from the blissed-out guitar washes that characterised its immediate predecessor ‘The Campfire Headphase’, the album focused the mysterious duo’s palette upon a depiction of technological apocalypse glimpsed from a murky distance. ‘Reach for the Dead’ rendered the duo’s trademark blunted hip-hop percussion ghostly, introducing John Carpenter-esque arpeggios which rear their head again and again in the dystopian landscape, perhaps most convincingly on the chilling ‘White Cyclosa’. Cuts like ‘Jaquard Causeway’ and ‘Cold Earth’ showed Boards at their best, with the beats crisp and physical, punching holes in immaculately textured atmospheres which frame yearning square wave synth lines.
The album’s length afforded the release luxurious ambient tracks, which through repeated listens slowly became the record’s highlights: ‘Sundown’ pushed gorgeous synth pads in and out of a sandstorm of decayed static, while ‘Transmisiones Ferox’ seemed to beam a disembodied voice from some alternate dimension into the brooding and unnerving landscape. Much like 2002’s ‘Geogaddi’, ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’ was a vital examining of the darker underbelly of the duo’s output, and felt like a timely addition to their already formidable catalogue.