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Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Boards of Canada

by Philip Sherburne

Artist Spotlight: Boards of Canada

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In a year packed with unexpected returns, perhaps none was a greater surprise than Boards of Canada's -- nor, for fans of the reclusive Scottish duo, more welcome. Seven long years after The Campfire Headphase, it appeared that the group might have simply disappeared into the fens, never to return. But on Record Store Day, a handful of cryptic 12-inch records from them turned up in record stores across the world, each bearing mere seconds of sound. As the band's most impassioned followers set about searching for clues about their return, a sort of online Easter egg hunt ensued, halfway between Willy Wonka's golden ticket and the plot of a William Gibson novel, complete with coded passwords and videos broadcast on the side of a building in Tokyo. That's all par for the course for a group that closely guards its mysteries. And while manufactured hype ran out of control this year -- hello, Daft Punk -- the real success of Tomorrow's Harvest is in the music itself. Though darker, moodier and more experimental than their previous outings, it's obviously cut from the same sumptuous cloth.

Boards of Canada's return has also, finally, occasioned the return of two classic albums to Napster's catalog: 1998's Music Has the Right to Children and 2002's Geogaddi. In honor of the occasion, we've put together a two-hour playlist of essential tracks, remixes and rarities. So join them in their telephasic workshop, and prepare to be transported.

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