Wanderings #13/52a: Boards Of Canada – Tomorrows Harvest; Stuck At The Starting Post / Tumbled From A Future Phase IV?
So, Gemini, the first track on Boards Of Canada’s Tomorrow’s Harvest album from 2013…
It begins with an Advisory Circle / Ghost Box-esque TV ident-like introduction (although I suppose considering who came first, any such things on Advisory Circle / Ghost Box releases are possibly Boards Of Canda-esque) and then…
…well it seems to tumble down a wormhole and create a soundtrack to some imagined future version of the 1974 film Phase IV, a science fiction soundtrack that seems to be both beautiful and terrifying.
The album’s title and the limited artcard edition seem to add to that Phase IV air, of a natural world order gone out of kilter and what seem to be only-just-official scientific investigation attempts.
It also puts me in mind of the hidden, subterranean investigations and research facility of The Andromeda Strain although without any of the comfort that the passing of time and the film being aimed towards a mainstream audience has added.
(And talking of hidden, subterranean, are these fully officially sanctioned research facilities?… Beyond The Black Rainbow and its soundtrack may also be an appropriate reference point.)
The cover artwork features a cityscape photographed from the land that surrounds it, caught in a sickly yet beautiful haze, which could be wandering towards shades of the environmental disasters of 1970’s No Blade Of Grass or maybe even the skies from the 1979 Quatermass series once the harvesting has taken place.
Inside devastated crops, broadcast towers, unidentifiable research-esque buildings/installations, distant hazy figures in desertscapes, barbed wire, forests, marks in the earth, a possibly abandoned car, what could be a reflection in a car light or may be on the glass of the visor of protective suiting and present-day-from-the-future concrete monolithic buildings all jostle for space, captured via the pixels of I assume a traditional cathode ray television screen.
The effect is strangely beautiful, entrancing and unsettling – similar indeed to Gemini.
I tend to find with this album that I rarely make it past this first track. In fact I often don’t even make it through this one track – it throws and distorts my mind, not through being extreme in terms of say dissonant audio but just in the atmosphere it conjures of all the above.
Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
Day #88/365: No Blade Of Grass and a curious mini-genre…
Elsewhere in the ether:
The Andromeda Strain #1. The Andromeda Strain #2 (contemporary revisiting). Award Winning Gardens / Mercurio Arboria / Beyond The Black Rainbow. Phase IV. Phase IV lost and found. No Blade Of Grass (and a good sit down with a cup of tea afterwards while the old nerves recover).