After our April Fool’s prank, we’re well aware that the phrase “boy cries wolf” might apply to this story, but trust us: Boards Of Canada actually released some new music on Record Store Day.
As part of Saturday’s Record Store Day festivities, Warp released a solitary 12″ credited to the pair through NY record shop Other Music. The disc features a short clip of a woozy none-more-BoC piece, plus a vocodered voice reading out the numbers “9-3-6-5-5-7”. It appears the record may be one in a series of jigsaw pieces: the record is credited as “—— / —— / —— / XXXXXX / —— / ——” , and features dead space on either side of the clip, implying a fill-in-the-gaps approach.
We obviously approached the story with the requisite skepticism, but Pitchfork now claim they have had direct confirmation that the record is legit. An Other Music employee, Mikey IQ Jones, has also got in touch directly with FACT. According to Jones: “It’s real. We were given a copy to secretly place in the racks at Other Music; we’re really psyched that it was found by a big fan!”
As expected, there’s been a whirlwind of fact-scavenging and speculation on the web in the days following the record’s release. Dedicated BoC fanboys 2020k have been thoroughly documenting information about the 12″ as its emerged, and point towards a recorded phone conversation with Other Music, who confirm that the disc is the only US copy and that five others have been released in different countries. BoC, it should be noted, have some prior in this department. After practically zero promotion, 2002’s Geogaddi was premiered at listening parties in six churches across the world. The sessions took place in London, New York, Tokyo, Edinburgh, Berlin and Paris. The site also confirms that a Warp employee also delivered the album by hand to the store at 3pm on the day before Record Store Day, and that BoC have an official listing on the Record Store Day page.
There have also been some hijinks going on the BoC Youtube channel. A video to Geogaddi track ‘Julie And Candy’ was uploaded onto the band’s official YouTube channel, originally with “——/——/——/——/–—-/——” in the subject line. Although this was subsequently removed, the title was also embedded into the clip at 4:20. 2020k note that, the following day, the message had moved to 4:19, suggesting there might be some sort of countdown in progress (although the clip has yet to move this morning).
As ever, BoC fans have been furiously parsing what the numbers might mean. The best lead on the Twoism message boards notes that, when the mysterious numbers are converted to ASCII to text, the resulting answer is the letter ‘m’. If ‘XXXXXX’ is substituted for ‘m’ in the title, it’s possible that Warp are alluding to a six letter word with ‘m’ as its fourth letter – “summer” being one option. A date for a new album release, perhaps?
The disc might seem like a bolt out of the blue, but the release of BoC’s first material in seven years isn’t entirely unprecedented. Back in February 2012, BBC6 Music stand-in presenter Peter Serafinowicz dropped a casual hint that the pair were working on new music, saying: “They’ve got a new album coming out soon and I think it’s gonna be a double album and I’m so excited, I really am-to hear their new one”. The news was followed the next month by some tantalising activity on the band’s official Facebook page. A fan’s message – “rumours of a new BOC album are rife? Any truth in this?” – was answered with the unambiguous (if terse) reply “yes”. In somewhat more insubstantial news, a Twitter user, Iain Stewart – who claims to be an associate of a friend of a band – reported on June 11 that a new album is “ready”, and moots a possible June release.
A Reddit user who claims to have picked up the disc has also uploaded a snippet of the track; click below to listen. FACT’s bumper guide to the 10 essential Boards Of Canada records is available here.