Saturday, June 12, 2010

Boards Of Canada - "1969"

This is a very creepy song about my favorite year in music. I think if I had a stroke, all music would sound like "1969." Boards Of Canada created that unsettling little warble in the synthesizer melody by, so I've been told, deliberately making the synthesizer jam. As John Bush writes in his AMG review, "Boards of Canada specialize in evocative, mournful, sample-laden downtempo music often sounding as though produced on malfunctioning equipment excavated from the ruins of an early-'70s computer lab." And how!

Bush states that "the samples apparently originate from a David Koresh follower," but after perusing the YouTube comments, I believe the sample is from a news broadcast regarding Amo Bishop Roden, a fellow Branch Davidian and rival of Koresh, in which the newscaster says "Although not a follower of David Koresh, she's a devoted Branch Davidian." However, the band took the "David Koresh" portion of the audio and played it backwards. What's unnerving is how this random vocal sample appears to be singing along with the melody. Finally at the end, as if we're not quite creeped out enough as it is, we're treated to a stereophonic pair of menacing, disembodied robotic ladies chanting "1969 in the sunshine." Not exactly taking me back to Woodstock here.

I first heard this song not long after 9/11, and its hypnotic, shimmering dread really matched my sense of that era's technology-driven fear and loathing. What am I talking about; we're still in that era. And this song is one of the few I've heard that really captures my impressions of "now" in a way that most of our current music does not, and none of our older music really could. It conjures up images of a thousand cable news channels constantly replaying videos of terrorist atrocities in a never-ending loop. And it's catchy.

Note: The YouTube video is fan-made, not band-sactioned, but as "xparfum" in the comments puts it, "they [the fan] understood." Also, the AMG reviewer has the same last name as our former president. Coincidence? I think not.

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