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Date: 23/09/17

Listen In Colours

I think a little chilling out is called for here, chums, after a week in which President Tribblehead made Kim Jong-Un look measured and sane, Fascism is stalking the streets of Catalunya at the behest of the Francoist régime in Madrid and Violet Elizabeth Maybot has been cordially ignored by everyone in Europe who matters. And I'm due back in the pickle factory on Monday morning.

Boards Of Canada is a Scottish electronic music duo comprising the brothers Michael and Marcus Sandison. They first came to general attention with their 1998 album Music Has The Right To Children, but they had been active for some years before that.

Their music is unlike the mass of synthesised or computerised music associated with the electronica and allied 'scenes'. Their extensive use of analogue synths, coupled with more conventional instruments and speech samples (many of them drawn from 1970s television or from the documentary films made by the National Film Board of Canada - hence the band's name) gives them a more textured, more intimate and more organic ambience than most of their contemporaries.

Although they do produce plenty of tracks of the usual sort of length (about four to six minutes), BoC also create little vignettes of a a couple of minutes or so, and it is these which are often the most beguiling. The example I have for you is one of those, and - in an oeuvre full of interesting and engaging stuff - it is one of the best, the only bugbear being that it lasts scarcely two and a half minutes (although some people have developed longer, looped versions of it, one of them - for some onaccountable reason - over an hour long; you can have too much of a good thing).

Roygbiv first appeared on the limited-release album BoC Maxima in 1996, an album which I would warmly recommend you track down (it's on YouTube) as epitomising to me what Boards Of Canada are all about sonically and artistically. It then re-appeared on Music Has The Right To Children, and has become one of the band's most celebrated and covered numbers.

The essential part of this track's attraction is the main melody; scarcely could a sweeter one be written in any genre, and the instrumentation and arrangement make it a stone-cold classic.

Check all of BoC's stuff out; all of it is good, much of it is excellent, and some of it is little short of magical. Listen in colours (and watch this very well-made fan video by berryrydell):