Truth: In the past 24 hours, I’ve been listening to Boards of Canada’s Tomorrow’s Harvest. Like, a lot. It soundtracked my morning breakfast (coincidentally as I was writing about next week’s “live transmission”), assisted me in tuning out my fiance’s viewing of So You Think You Can Dance last night, and even did some jumping jacks with me. That’s not enough, I feel, because this isn’t just a headphones album, it’s an album to experience.
That’s why the Scottish duo’s been pulling off all that weird, obscure, viral shit. It makes sense: Tomorrow’s Harvest demands an isolated desert, or a building in Tokyo, or a sweaty dance floor in Detroit. But as I plummet into the depths of this album — similar to Ed Harris in James Cameron’s The Abyss, which is choice if you haven’t seen it (director’s cut, y’all) — I’ve been jotting down more fitting places I’d like to hear this at, whether it’s on my own or if BOC reads this and says, “Hey guy, you’re on to something!”
1. The abandoned Fashion Mall in Plantation, FL
Photo by Cap Blackard
Once a hub of activity for South Florida, this attractive locale, which is equal parts Bespin City and Monroeville Mall, now sits vacant and useless in the boggy concrete wildnerness that is Broward County. So much of Tomorrow’s Harvest feels like it’s focusing on dying beauty, the cries and yelps of things forgotten yet still beautiful. I’d do anything to climb over, break in, and listen for hours as I strolled around the empty stores and gazed toward the glass ceilings. Who’s got a wire-cutter?
Key Tracks: “Sick Times”, ”Collapse”
2. Somewhere outside Earth, preferably in orbit
Photo by NASA
It’s those analog synths and found sounds and the band’s use of “transmission” that leave me suspended in space. Call me Frank Poole, drifting along towards oblivion with the glowing hue of our planet fading slowly in front of me. Frightening? Never. It’s a thrill of a lifetime lived by no one, and it’s a request I’ll ask Richard Branson of if life ever permits, or he follows me on Twitter or something. Anyways, here’s some food for daydreams: Isn’t there a timeless feeling about space? Nostalgic even?
Key Tracks: “Sundown”, “Cold Earth” (duh), and “Transmisiones Ferox”
3. Inside my late uncle’s Volkswagen Bus amongst the Black Hills
Photo by Scott Carpenter
I’ve never been to South Dakota, but I’ve always wanted to, and not because of Mount Rushmore. I’d actually love to spend some time in the Black Hills, where everyone says it’s naturally spooky.” Spooky works for me, as someone who regularly visits supposedly haunted areas or mines the ‘net for sightings of just about everything. So much of Boards’ latest singes the tiny hairs on your back and arms, elevating spooky to claustrophobic or downright threatening. I’d love to be somewhere really, really, really open to see how powerful the album might be. Though, for something like this to work, I’d need a sense of home, a place if you will, and I can’t think of a trustier sidekick than my late uncle’s Volkswagen Bus, which looked like this. Cozy stuff.
Key Tracks: “Uritual”, “Reach for the Dead”
4. That lake they filmed The Edge at in Banff National Park
Photo by Rocky Mountain Magazine
In Banff National Park, the water’s a certain shade of green and blue that’s unlike anywhere on Earth. When the sun hits it, the reflections, the moods it gives off, and the way it harmonizes with the surrounding trees is basically Mother Nature saying, “C’mon, bro.” Channels of Tomorrow’s Harvest beg for scenery like this, and those moments where the heart stops not dangerously but rather expectantly. You’re supposed to gasp, or tear up, or just freeze — it’s a good thing. The fact that it’s actually in Canada is just mere coincidence.
Key Tracks: “Nothing’s Real”
Photo by AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev
Twenty seven years ago, an explosion and a fire at Ukraine’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant released large quantities of radiation into the atmosphere, which involved half a million workers, resulted in countless deaths and long-term illnesses, and forced the evacuation of the nearby town of Pripyat. Today, it all sits empty — well, sort of. As reported by scientists and popularized in a short documentary by Vice, various mutated wildlife have taken over the abandoned terrain. And while it’s impossible to inhabit for another, oh, 10,000 years, tours can be arranged with trusty Geiger counters and willing guides. Sigh, to walk through the decay with the album’s desperate sounds of loss and grief would just be too damn perfect.
Key Tracks: ”Jacquard Causeway”, “Palace Posy”, ”Come to Dust”, and “Semena Mertvykh”