April 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

Boards Of Canada’s Impossibly-Scarce Mystery Vinyl Is Making the Internet Hungry

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On Record Store Day (4/20), the Boards of Canada appear to have released some ridiculously scarce vinyl: six 12-inch vinyl singles, each of which there is only one copy.

In these days of omnipresent everything, this level of scarcity feels like the lottery. Many people already love BoC, and have been anxiously awaiting another release (especially after a cruel April Fool’s Day hoax), so this combination of scarcity and mystery could bring it even more attention, in addition to its fun, “Willy Wonka Golden Ticket”-type aspect.

The Boards of Canada’s amazing handcrafted electronic music destroys any vestige of the idea that only stringed instruments can create music with real feel and widespread appeal. Not only that, but its “organic electronica,” for lack of a better phrase, makes great work music. And if these weird vinyl releases are any indication, which we reckon they are, these Scottish brothers are just about ready to drop their first record since 2005′s The Campfire Headphase (listen below).

(4/29: Update: The album is called Tomorrow’s Harvest, and it’s coming out on June 10.)

You can hear one of these six unique vinyl artifacts above — the one “lilcakey” bought at Other Music in New York on Saturday, and posted about on Reddit (via Consequence of Sound). In his or her copy, the computer voice says the number 936,557, whatever that means.

Each of these six ultra-rare 12-inch records apparently only runs for 20 seconds, containing a sample of music purported to be from the upcoming album. Lilcakey wrote,

I got a really weird record today

Hey, so i recently posted something on facebook about a record I got today at Other Music, its a new BoC release from warp, dated 2013. The record is single sided, and has about a roughly 20 second clip of a very boards-of-canada-ey voice with synth backing saying a six digit number once, and then cuts out.

on the front of the record Boards of Canada is written and beneath that a series of -’s, /’s, and X’s, are arranged as follows

—— / —— / —— / XXXXXX / —— / ——

Clearly I have one of six similar Boards of Canada records released today and distributed “randomly” around the world (Other Music said they received the record with no word / acknowledgement of its existence, it was just there in a shipment they received). I think that if all of the numbers are gathered and arranged in a proper order, we might be able to figure something out, so we just need the other 5 people who found the record (or maybe they haven’t been found yet) to reveal their numbers and where they fit in the sequence, and then of course, have to decipher what the numbers together mean.

I don’t work for warp, and am just a college kid who idolizes this group

I want to figure this out

Later, lilcakey did figure out what’s going on here, at least a little bit. Judging by the empty space surrounding the music on his version of the 12-inch, he or she hypothesizes that the other five records contain the other five segments of music. If that is correct, it might be possible for the internet to re-assemble a record from each of the tracks into, quite possibly, the first single from the album, or at least one of the stems:

new boards of canada album


Adding to the mystery, Consequence of Sound notes,

Adding to all the hoopla is a YouTube video from “Julie and Candy” from Boards of Canada’s album Geogaddi, which currently appears in the band’s official YouTube playlist. The video’s original description was  “——/——/——/——/——/—–­-”, before it was changed today to read “1977 snow computing amateur footage beards synthesizer”. What’s more, yesterday the dashes appeared at the 4:20 mark of the video, and now at the 4:19 mark. Might it be counting down to something?

This is going to make the internet really, really hungry for more.

Still, before some social media expert starts hawking it to bands as a strategy for promoting their releases, this is no more a solution with potential for broad application than was Radiohead’s name-your-own-price In Rainbows.

We already couldn’t wait for this record, confirmed to have been in the works; now, our curiosity is primed for when the album appears online (updated).

The scarcity and mystery of this promotion, in a world where everything is over-explained everywhere in real-time, will make this Boards of Canada release into feeding frenzy of music and information.

For the uninitiated, here’s the last full-length BoC release:

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marc-Hug/803660213 Marc Hug

    “especially because their label just dropped a killer music remixing app.” boards of canada are on warp. ninjatune released the app you are linking to (ninja jamm).

  • http://evolver.fm Eliot Van Buskirk

    Thanks, Marc — I was moving too fast, which I try not to do. Fixed.