Boards of Canada, hailed as the most important band of electronica music in recent years, has returned with its third album, cryptically titled “The Campfire Headphase.”
The group, most praised for its genius expedition into ambient techno on 1998’s album “Music Has the Right To Children,” hasn’t changed its sound all that much.
I heard one girl refer to “The Campfire Headphase” as “psychedelic sci-fi folktronica,” claiming that Boards of Canada has stepped out of its own genera. But I think the root word folk might be stretching these other-worldly musicians too far from the cosmos they happily dwell in.
Sonically, this album is the pop personification of a Zen Buddhist Garden. Ambient waves of peace and tranquility build and often subtly bluster amidst a myriad of electronic bleeps, sweeps and creeps. Good, why don’t we take a 5-minute break? Smoke if ya got ’em.
“Chromakey Dreamcoat” enters like a couple of dissonant enemy thunderclouds scratching each other with their frayed fingernails and gives way to the rising sound of an aviary in the background. The song sounds like a muffled Tortoise song.
The best song on the album is “Dayvan Cowboy,” which showcases Boards of Canada’s boldest move on the album, as it possesses a strong helping of electric guitars. But don’t get too excited rock ‘n’ rollers, these electric guitars sound like nothing of this world as they glaze about the atmosphere with nothing but the simple tapping of a tambourine drawing them nearer to our earthy existence. Supernovas are both shattered and reborn in this song.
An ultimately chill-listening experience that should tantalize the listener with a hankering for lush studying experiences. Though it possibly lacks the original poignancy of their previous albums, it perhaps doesn’t need to venture the often trivial territory of poignancy.