Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scottish Sunday: Boards of Canada

I guess if I had to explain my strange, unconscious fixation on Scottish musicians, it would come down to their uncanny knack for channeling quantum magic into our reality through the processes of recorded sound, often in the unlikely context of the pop song. It's certainly not a consistent gift, and many of the same artists who can melt your heart early on in their careers can soon succumb to the worst pantomimes of show business (Annie Lennox and Simple Minds, for instance).

Since we are now in the age of accelerated revelation, it makes sense that Collective Unconscious would summon a band like Boards of Canada, who seem to be the distillation of the Scottish gift for musickal magick. I had wanted to do the Scottish Sundays in chronological order, but I stumbled upon this video while browsing around on YouTube and it synchronistically tied into a post I've been working on (and will be posting next week).

This video is absolutely astonishing, depicting a type of manned, high altitude ballooning and sky-diving I could hardly even imagine existed. This video shows Astronaut Joseph Kittinger's unimaginable skydive from 102,000 feet above the Earth, and then segues into some nail-biting surfing footage. The sterility of space is contrasted beautifully with the majesty of the oceans. For some reason, it all reminds me of the Stargate sequence in 2001:A Space Odyssey, a film which we'll be looking at tomorrow. I'm also reminded of the amazing spacewalk scenes in the highly undervalued 2010.

I did two previous posts on these remarkable musicians: here and here.

Bonus factoid: The "Scot" in Scotland comes from Scota, the name of an Egyptian princess.


  1. Later this year the Tutankhamun roadshow hits Dallas [ just before Presidential elections].
    DALLAS MUSEUM, 1717 N. Harwood
    I imagine a trinity there on Nov 23 - Tut, JFK and Barack.

  2. Excellent catch! The mystery truly deepens...

  3. Given the 2001 mention, you might be interested to note that in Spaceballs there's a mock-version of the monolith-stargate sequence, and it ends with a tartan pattern being left alit upon the two characters having experienced the lights.

  4. You're much more articulate about it than I am, but Boards of Canada really is like a swim in the collective unconscious. The music guides me to such phenomenal, no-time places. Another band that has a similar effect on me is the Icelandic groups Mum, though their sound is a little more structured than Boards.

  5. Eagerly awaiting their next album release which is rumored to be this year. Its not shocking this band hasn't received more attention in the states seein' as they hardly do press or interviews and just 3 yrs ago i found out they were brothers! They've been doing music since '87 and here we are in 2008 and now Nissan & BMW uses their tunes for their commercials, although most of their music is far from commercial at all, some tracks just being fragments really. I found a few interesting quotes by the two men behind BOC-

    "I've always been fascinated by the connection between music and numbers. Psychedelic experiences lead in this direction; they help us to see things in terms of numbers and their forms, of structures, as if the music was made out of crystals."

    "We're not Satanists, or Christians, or Pagans. We're not religious at all. We just put symbols into our music sometimes, depending on what we're interested in at the time. We do care about people and the state of the world, and if we're spiritual at all it's purely in the sense of caring about art and inspiring people with ideas."

    "-I do actually believe that there are powers in music that are almost supernatural. I think you actually manipulate people with music, and that is definitely what we are trying to do. People go on about hypnotizing people with music, or subliminal messages and we have dabbled in that intentionally. Sometimes that's just a bit of a private joke, just to see what we can sneak into the tracks."

    Its interesting to note as well their studio name in Scotland is Hexagon Sun. says:

    The existence of Hexagon Sun and oblique references to it in interviews, web sites and album packaging have contributed to what many people regard as the mythological aura surrounding Boards of Canada. Opinions on this subject differ greatly; some people regard Hexagon Sun as a mysterious cult, while others believe that it is simply a title for the band's recording studio. It is believed that Hexagon Sun have held parties in the past, which may be how the collective originally formed. These get-togethers were soon known as "Redmoon" events after one of their parties was during the presence of a red-colored Moon. WTF!?

  6. 1/2 of Boards of Canada is a Cancer (like you). I think you might like my blog, its an astrology blog that explores archetypes, popular culture, and alchemy. Check it out and let me know what you think:

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  8. I just want too take time too Thank all the people for doing what you do and making the community what it is im a long time reader and first time poster so i just wanted to say thanks.

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