1998, Music

Music Has the Right to Children (1998) by Boards of Canada

I don’t listen to a ton of electronic music but I do listen to some, especially more recently, with my podcast about album anniversaries, with lost of major electronic music album anniversaries arising. So I do find it hard at times to put electronic music in context, though I think I’m getting better at it.

I find myself utterly flummoxed by this perfectly fine ambient record which has some of the best reviews of any album released in 1998 (or the 1990s). I read all this praise about it and don’t really understand why. When I listen to it, I hear what sounds to me like what I thought I was getting into, nothing at all like the grand statement that other people hear. I just don’t understand the praise. I hope to have a guest on the show who will tell me about it, so maybe I will have different opinion in a few days, but for the moment this is what I hear:

Like a number of other electronic bands/groups/artists from the 1990s, Boards of Canada combine Eno-esque ambient sounds and soundscapes with actual beats. This makes for music that works both as ambient music you can basically ignore and electronic music you can actually listen to consciously (which is sometimes a problem for strict ambient). But why this particular version of this fusion – which was already very much before this record came out – is the best version of it (or one of the best versions of it) is utterly beyond me. Much like most electronic music, I have no emotional connection here and my evaluation is completely intellectual.

It’s fine.


All tracks written by Marcus Eoin and Mike Sandison.

  1. “Wildlife Analysis” 1:17
  2. “An Eagle in Your Mind” 6:23
  3. “The Color of the Fire” 1:45
  4. “Telephasic Workshop” 6:35
  5. “Triangles & Rhombuses” 1:50
  6. “Sixtyten” 5:48
  7. “Turquoise Hexagon Sun” 5:07
  8. “Kaini Industries” 0:59
  9. “Bocuma” 1:35
  10. “Roygbiv” 2:31
  11. “Rue the Whirl” 6:39
  12. “Aquarius” 5:58
  13. “Olson” 1:31
  14. “Pete Standing Alone” 6:07
  15. “Smokes Quantity” 3:07
  16. “Open the Light” 4:25
  17. “One Very Important Thought” 1:14

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