With Tomorrow’s Harvest driving Boards of Canada interest through the roof it was perhaps inevitable that Warp would reissue their back catalogue. The original vinyl can still go for triple figures on eBay, and in the absence of fresh pressings of A Few Old Tunes or Boc Maxima (impossible) the Sandison’s six previous releases are most welcome on wax. 2002’s Geogaddi is closest in spirit to Tomorrow's Harvest with its hints of natural apocalypses and heavy subliminal imagery; now on 140g black vinyl recut by Noel Summerville and with the Protect & Survive artwork etched on the last side in place of the listed track, Geogaddi 2013 is a tempting investment - but is it worth the £19 Warp want out of your wallet?
It is if you’ve got good headphones, or fall into the camp that believe this album trounces 1998’s debut LP Music Has The Right To Children. A environmentally-themed collection of tracks, Summerville’s handiwork has nowhere that obvious to start, and even this hardened listener had to cut out all background noise to spot it. There’s some louder orgy noises on ‘Gyroscope’, the shrieked numbers a little clearer over the scraping, elliptical beats, and ‘The Beach at Redpoint’ now features juicier bongos between its windswept drum work. Other changes are subliminal: louder voices and rounded bass on the euphoric ‘Julie and Candy’, its beat so choppy it’s more like kung fu than percussion, and the odd choice of more prominent rain on the finale of ‘Alpha and Omega’, whose focus on fluttering Yamaha CS-70s is a signature flourish of the brothers.
To most listeners - particularly those who missed the album eleven years ago - the remastering is incidental: the selling point of Geogaddi is those luscious vignettes that would go on to feature on Monkey Dust, Nathan Barley and most things confined to BBC4. Whether they've been tweaked or not it’s hard to tell as they’ve always sounded so good, the most powerful part of BoC’s nostalgia ride. On the succulent synths and nature doc samples of ‘Dandelion’ Leslie Nielsen may sound a little clearer, but the original composition still transports you back to school VHS time. The unaltered ‘Beware the Friendly Stranger’ will be familiar to anyone who enjoys the Salad Fingers shorts, and the blend of crackling vinyl, creepy hooting and howling background radios are hard to improve upon, sounding as deliciously out of time as they did first time round. Perhaps Summerville decided here there’s no need to improve on perfection.
Although many wouldn’t agree Geogaddi is perfect it’s certainly no Difficult Second Album, and is the most interesting place Boards of Canada could’ve gone to after the frosty beats of Music Has The Right To Children. Like the more wonderful parts of the BBC’s Life on Earth soundtrack Geogaddi conjured spells out of nature and instruments, evoking images of doom, howling sand, environmental mayhem and strange practices in the forest. The album’s obsession with numbers is more apparent this time round, every digit enunciated (on ‘Sunshine Recorder’ the child’s voice is so loud it’s like you’re in the crib and it’s the adult), but you need to really be a BoC übernerd to spot most of the differences. The omission of Japanese rarity ‘From One Source All Things Depend’ might irk owners of the original but to anyone who respects the 66:06 running time, or missed the first vinyl run, this is a welcome way to beat those eBay fiends.
7George Bass's Score