The Internet, we can safely say, has wildly changed the way we are introduced to new music—and that seems to have inspired further innovations. While streaming a forthcoming album in full on NPR or Pitchfork is now old hat, it seems Boards of Canada would rather all their fans tune in at once and hear their feverishly anticipated Tomorrow’s Harvest today, at 4pm Eastern Standard Time.
All you have to do is mosey over to boardsofcanada.com at or before the appointed time; the rest should be self-evident. And with interest so high, it wouldn’t surprise us if the website crashed, à la Kevin Shields’ site when the new My Bloody Valentine went live—though Netflix was able to premiere Arrested Developmentwithout major incident, so who knows!
Anyway, upward of 11,000 people have already RSVPd to the event on Facebook, and that’s just among people who RSVP to stuff like this on Facebook. It should be an oddly communal experience, keeping with the subtle hints about the album dropped around the globe that fans had to collaborate to decipher. It didn’t take very long for William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition to come true, now did it.
We had a feeling that Tomorrow’s Harvest, the hotly anticipated new album from Scottish electronic duo Boards of Canada, would be a dark affair—they’ve released strange snippets of creepy ambiance in a secretive, puzzle-ish way—and now “Reach For The Dead,” initially broadcast in Japan, confirms it. Almost by title alone. Below, hear the band’s first new music in seven years, set to a vivid short film by Neil Krug.
The visuals, like the song, attain a weird beauty that’s in part dependent upon a crucial absence: there are no people to see in these barren landscapes, and no vocals to hear in this sun-blasted desert of sound. It would seem BoC has gone more minimal than usual this time out: for the first half of this you get the impression you’re listening to an unusually subdued John Carpenter track. When the synth arpeggios and drums drop in, it’s more like John Carpenter end credits.
In other words, yes, it’s a bit spooky. It also seems to have quickly ignited a debate about who can claim responsibility for this type of moody set piece: over on YouTube they’re arguing about whether this rips off middle-era Radiohead. For reference, BoC’s Music Has the Right to Children was 1998, and Kid A the year 2000, so we’re pretty sure Thom Yorke was influenced by them rather than vice versa. Either way, an arresting new piece that promises to be but a part of a larger and masterful suite.
Everyone is coming out of the woodwork this year: Godspeed You Black Emperor, The Knife, and My Bloody Valentine have all reemerged in almost totally unanticipated ways after long hiatuses, and each has delivered a huge, haunting record that reaffirmed what we loved about the band. Now, in an era where “BoC” more likely means Blue Oyster Cult, Scottish electronica duo Boards of Canada are teasing a new release with wildly complicated clues, whipping fans into a frenzied scavenger hunt.
But let us save you the viral-underground PR theatrics: after all, the nerds are on the case. It begins with the appearance of some 12” vinyl singles that surfaced on Record Store Day, which contained odd snippets of what had to be new material. (One of those first clues is now selling on eBay for an asking price of $565.00, so get bidding.) Then there was an Adult Swim bumper spot and a strange, password-protected website that a fan cracked, leading us to this spooky but alluring video.
Now it’s official: the new album, Tomorrow’s Harvest, is out on June 11 from Warp Records. Will anyone be able to resist, given that so much buzz has built up around it already? Will you need a World War II-era decryption device to even listen to the damn thing? Will the new Daft Punk album this year be delivered via hot air balloon? For the moment, nothing seems impossible.
Oh, and here’s the tracklist, in case there’s some kind of a clue in there, too: