Friday, 27 April 2018

Boards Of Canada - Hi Scores EP (1996)

Used to have loads more by these two local lads, then found this CD in a cupboard the other day and realised it's the only BOC I've got left.  Maybe I just always preferred them in smaller doses, and on an hour-plus album they got a bit samey?  Or just that this early EP had more of a spark of raw inspiration that I liked?  Whichever it is, here's the very lovely Hi Scores.

Boards Of Canada in 1996 certainly knew their way around a nice crunchy rhythm track, as evidenced right from the start of the opening title track.  The gorgeous, chewy synth pads that envelop it show similar interests to early Autechre, and there's more echoes of that duo in the more uptempo June 9th.  Second track Turquoise Hexagon Sun shows the BOC sound starting to mature, in the ambient background chatter and of course in that track title - their classic identity was starting to cement.  It's clear to see why they'd repurpose this one for Music Has The Right To Children.

Nlogax however is a firm piece of nostalgia, like a lost piece of electro filtered through a pleasantly-stoned BOC sensibility.  By the last track they're well and truly coming into their own, though.  After a lovely electric piano intro, Everything You Do Is A Balloon slowly builds into an absolutely stunning piece of classic Boards Of Canada machine melancholy.  Easily the standout of these six tracks, it's the perfect ending to a classic EP of mid-90s electronics at their loveliest sweet spot.


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