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In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country

Boards Of Canada
In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country

Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin are two of the most reclusive chaps on the Warp Records roster. While I'll admit that there aren't any really any super outgoing types (except for maybe Squarepusher and Aphex Twin on their good days) at all, the only time I really hear about Boards of Canada at all is when they actually release something. For some reason, I picture the duo constantly holed up on some picturesque little hillside in the UK somewhere, only leaving for the occassional grocery run and for the delivery of master tapes to the home office.

That would certainly be one way to describe why the group has seemingly fallen into a niche of their own within the IDM (please don't slap me for using that term) genre. While Autechre seems to keep experimenting with more and more fractured sounds and other groups keep tweaking their style to find just the right mix, BOC seem to just keep doing their thing, and doing it well. Their Hi Scores EP was six tracks of goodness and their debut full-length Music Has The Right To Children was a solid and mature release even though it was still capturing the group at a young stage.

Basically, if you liked either of the above releases, you're not going to go wrong with In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country. It continues the groups working of quiet and beautiful sounds alongside thick basslines and nice little clunking beats. In some ways, the 4 song EP is actually some of the most stripped-down work by the group, but it's also quite essential. "Kid For Today" sounds like several tracks that the group has done, yet somehow new and refreshing with an off-kilter loping beat under a layer of droning tones and a pretty melody. "Amo Bishop Roden" takes another drone that simply continues for the duration of the track (while changing pitch a bit) and slowly but surely fades in more elements until things are moving along with a thick gurgle for a beat.

It just wouldn't be a BOC release without some weird, vocodored vocals, and they do just that on the title track, again setting the sounds of kids laughing and undecipherable lyrics against an unobtrusive beat. As a whole, the 4 tracks and almost 25 minutes worth of music on the release tend to be a bit more on the quiet side for the group, but for only about 6 or 7 dollars, it's a totally excellent purchase and a great way to hear the group if you haven't before.

Rating: 8