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If 1998’s Music Has The Right The Children beguiled in its naivety, with voices of playing children ringing from some half-remembered time, then Geogaddi, released four years later, unearthed a more sinister dread from the palette which had made Boards of Canada’s first album such vital listening. Embedded in the motifs of the album’s 23 tracks seemed a foreboding sense of coming apocalypse which drew strongly from the electronic dystopia of Kraftwerk’s ‘Radioactivity’.
The vocoded refrain of ‘1969 in the sunshine’ on ‘1969’ framed a sense of wide-eyed optimism within a subtly ominous landscape of nauseous synths and hazy hip-hop percussion, while tracks like ‘Energy Warning’ and ‘Beware the Friendly Stranger’ provided moments of severe, troubling forecast which were situated as much within contemporary fears as the Cold War subject matter from which the album took its cue.
‘Music is Math’ remains a highlight of the Boards canon in its perfectly rendered woozy synths, and nagging BBC vocal sample, with percussion that could encourage a dancefloor whilst subtly troubling it, and ‘the Devil is in the Details’ hinted at the deeply layered satanic codes which many committed fans were convinced they had unearthed.
Geogaddi continues to be an alluring piece of the Boards of the Canada puzzle, which cemented their already unique sound even as it undermined its optimism.