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Boards of Canada: "Peel Session"

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Peel Session defines Boards of Canada

Peel Session is the quintessential Boards of Canada EP. If you've never heard of this act, this is a good place to start. Let's get the introductions out of the way - Boards of Canada is one of a kind. It produces eccentric, progressive electronica that has depth and, well, a soul, if that makes any sense. The music combines thumping beats with beautiful ambient soundscapes and harmony. Lots of layers can be found in BoC's music - there will be new details or moods to notice even after the tenth listening time.

Aquarius and Olson are also found on "Music Has The Right To Children", the first Boards of Canada full-length album. The versions found here differ from the album versions - most notably the beats in Aquarius are remastered. Olson (Version 3), however, is very different from the album version - the melody is laid out a little darker here. Someone said that Aquarius alone is reason enough to get this EP, but there's no denying that the real jewel of this EP is "Happy Cycling", which apparently is only released on this EP. (As opposed to "Smokes Quantity" being on both Twoism and Music Has The Right To Children, or "Seeya Later" being on both Twoism and Hi Scores).

Happy Cycling starts out as the most trip-hop Boards of Canada track I've ever heard (good thing!), and then it only gets better. Above and below the beat, layers quickly begin to build. With a melody that reveals itself in small steps, the track progresses intoxicatingly, and the mood is quite eerie and haunting. Then, towards the end, it - I quote the wonderfully fitting expression from another review of this EP - "shifts into a new gear", the melodies break out and take over, and finally the track lets up in the ambience. I'd like to say it's one of my favourite BoC tracks, but it's really quite impossible to place one above another in rank.

TOP TRACKS: Aquarius (Version 3), Happy Cycling


  1. Aquarius (Version 3) [Sample]
  2. Happy Cycling
  3. Olson (Version 3)
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Warp Music 1999

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Review by Saboteur

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