Boards of Canada – Reach for the Dead

It’s been years since the last album from Scottish ambient duo Boards of Canada was released – eight years, in fact. I had no idea that a new album was coming out this year, nor that this song had already been released, until it was brought to my attention in the 2013 New Music thread on the Chengdu Living.

Not only was I actually listening to Boards of Canada upon realizing this (Happy Cycling, Song of the Day #98), but I have fond memories of discovering Boards of Canada.

In in the early 2000’s, I went to South Beach Miami for a week during the Winter Music Conference a handful of times with my good friend Esfand. It became a ritual for us, enjoying sunshine, like-minded crowds, and non-stop DJ related parties for a week in one of the most beautiful places in the States.

One year while in our hotel, Esfand suggested with urgency that I listen to Boards of Canada. But when I heard it, it didn’t make sense to me. It was bizarrely minimal and had a vintage sound to it, unlike anything I had heard before. I stuck with it, and like Esfand, I grew into a passionate fan of the perhaps the most understated group in electronica: Boards of Canada.

In the early days of listening to Boards, Esfand described it to me as handshake music. It doesn’t just come to you – you meet it halfway, and an exchange takes place.

I always loved using this analogy for abstract art, music, or culture that when first approached doesn’t immediately make sense to the casual observer.