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Numanoid
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21762 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Postby Numanoid; Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:32 pm What makes Boards of Canada tick?

I remember when Music Has The Right To Children hit the record shop shelves in 1998. I thought, who are these upstarts?

By the time of the release of A Beautiful Place Out in the Country, my preconception had luckily subsided so much that I listened to it, and it blew my mind. Now the BOC sound is almost like a religion to me :borg:

But what is it that makes it what it is, breaking it down:

-The drums, heavy, but more trip hop than IDM
-Main motives/riffs can be very simple, like the Beach at Redpoint (H, H A), still appear complex and rich
-Clever usage of film/tv samples, to create atmosphere
-Heavy use of chorus
Live thoroughly, like Henry David Thoreau
JerGoertz
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1515 posts since 19 Feb, 2004

Postby JerGoertz; Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:52 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

Wow & flutter, distortion, etc.; anything that makes things sounds like they were run through old gear and recorded to tape which sat in an attic for years...
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thecontrolcentre
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19651 posts since 27 Jul, 2005, from the wilds of wanny

Postby thecontrolcentre; Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:56 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

Hardware. Acoustic instruments. Resampled and run through fx. Real playing.
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masterhiggins
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1326 posts since 30 Dec, 2004, from Minneapolis, MN

Postby masterhiggins; Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:17 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

Sh-101 and PBS documentary audio from the 70s.
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Michael L
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1094 posts since 25 Jan, 2014, from the End of the World as we Knowit

Postby Michael L; Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:28 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

Musicianship: simple melodies and a basic song structure; the sounds are actually played (unlike EDM repetition); all is on tempo and pitch-- even the modulation-- which creates nice harmonies; it is mixed to maintain listener interest. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they started with the availability of free, public-domain video!
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ccDuckett
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393 posts since 14 Jun, 2011, from Earth

Postby ccDuckett; Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:08 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

Don't forget the ability to blur the line between nostalgia and alienation. I was just thinking the other day- there's almost as much time between now and BoC's first releases, as there was time between those first releases, and the era that music was evoking...
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Michael L
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1094 posts since 25 Jan, 2014, from the End of the World as we Knowit

Postby Michael L; Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:02 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

... and they 'blur the line between nostalgia and alienation' with the slow tempo, groove, key and chord progression, yesno? I also see some BOC sheet music and chords online.
MuLab to freely explore musical ideas | . : : . | , : ; . | . ; ' , | . ; ' " | , " ; ' | , " :` | : "" ; ! | ; " ~ * |
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SampleScience
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3458 posts since 31 Oct, 2004, from Mtl, Canada

Postby SampleScience; Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:14 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

One thing that helps understand the BOC music is to analyze their chord progressions and play with them:

https://www.hooktheory.com/theorytab/view/boards-of-canada/roygbiv
https://www.hooktheory.com/theorytab/view/boards-of-canada/alpha-and-omega
http://twoism.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=102521

Also, you can have a look at their source of inspiration:

http://blog.nfb.ca/blog/2013/09/23/music-has-the-right-to-children-sound/

As for the production techniques themselves; slight pitch detuning, rich chorus, tape echo, tape simulation, flanger/phaser at a very slow rate, a bit of subtle reverb.
anomandaris1
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168 posts since 26 Nov, 2009

Postby anomandaris1; Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:29 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

Lower the pitch (20-30 cents) of your instruments for more "relaxed sound".
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sqigls
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1815 posts since 24 Dec, 2004, from Melbourne, Australia

Postby sqigls; Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:02 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

for somebody who has avoided this act, what can people recommend to me as their best tracks?
deastman
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5866 posts since 6 Aug, 2003, from San Francisco Bay Area

Postby deastman; Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:39 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

Crunchy drums
Desolate, melancholy melodies
Occasional dialogue samples
The sound of tape

Keep in mind that they are not "simulating" their tape effects. They actually do record to real tape to get that sound. Or at least they did on the first albums... no idea what their current production workflow looks like.

I have a particularly strong affinity for their influences. In the 1980's, I used to go to a lot of animation festivals, and I quickly noticed the best shorts were always "Produced with a grant from the Film Board of Canada". Those poetic, evocative animations and the abstract soundtracks to them were a huge source of inspiration to me. I've also been going to a couple of local film festivals for the better part of 30 years now which celebrate the history of low budget b-movies and educational and industrial 16mm films from decades past. Combined with my memories of growing up in the 70's and 80's with after school specials and that sort of thing, and that is pretty much the formula for BoC. I suppose they also have a bit more hiphop influence than I ever did, but that seems like a fairly minor component in most of their output.
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Winstontaneous
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884 posts since 14 Feb, 2006, from Berkeley, CA

Postby Winstontaneous; Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:51 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

sqigls wrote:for somebody who has avoided this act, what can people recommend to me as their best tracks?

Dayvan Cowboy
New Seeds
Music is Math
The Devil is in the Details
Twoism
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tehlord
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7310 posts since 22 Sep, 2008, from Windsor. UK

Postby tehlord; Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:10 pm Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

Less time on forums than you.

More talent than you.
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Numanoid
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21762 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Postby Numanoid; Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:42 am Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

tehlord wrote:Less time on forums than you.

How do you know that, why do they only release albums every 5 years if they aren't spending all their time on darknet or Gearslutz all day
More talent than you.

Well, they are two and I am only one. I could have had as many posts on Gearslutz as well, if I were two
Live thoroughly, like Henry David Thoreau
dark water
KVRist
 
171 posts since 2 Jun, 2016

Postby dark water; Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:19 am Re: What makes Boards of Canada tick?

Nature, human wistfulness, subtextual themes of escape and darkness.
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