Some albums are so unbelievably brilliant, the thought of the artist/band who made it possibly topping that effort seems-and often is-an impossible task. This appeared to be the case for Boards of Canada’s fantastic first album, Music Has the Right to Children, which was such a flawless piece of hauntingly atmospheric electronica that the group even remotely matching it with future releases seemed all but laughable. However, by heading in a completely different musical direction while still maintaining their distinct roots in IDM, their followup album, Geogaddi, goes far and beyond the standards set by Children, unbelievably even trumping it in the process.
Taking the occasional sinister undertones from that album and making them the central focus here, Geogaddi is a distinctly unsettling listening experience that still sounds scary to this very day. There’s off-kilter samples, bizarre interludes, references to numerology and David Koresh, and an overall lack of the warmth and immediately catchy hooks that populated Children. Basically, think of cool-yet-creepy music to play at some really spooky location (say, a haunted house) and you more or less have this album in a nutshell. Though this darkness is present throughout, easily the most overt examples of it are on extremely glitched-sounding tracks such as “Gryoscope” (appropriately used in the credits of the horror flick Sinister), “Julie and Candy”, and “The Devil is in the Details”.
Even so, Geogaddi is still very much a Boards of Canada album, and standouts “Music is Math” and “1969” are even vaguely reminiscent of their debut. It’s just the general inversion of their very distinct musical style, not to mention the refusal to even remotely sound commercial, that ultimately makes it such a memorable and lasting listening experience even to this very day.