Trans Canada Highway

EP by released in 2006
Trans Canada Highway's tracklist:
Dayvan Cowboy
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Left Side Drive
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Heard From Telegraph Lines
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Under the Coke Sign
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Dayvan Cowboy (Odd Nosdam remix)
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Trans Canada Highway review

An Awaited Album Of a Non-Prolific Duo

For a pop-electronic duo of Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin quality control has never been a much of a problem. Boards of Canada have an 11-year history of discography, but they are constantly indulging in generous spells of inactivity. And it magnifies their legacy in a way. Their new album Trans Canada Highway sounds slightly more mechanic than last year’s The Campfire Headphase and contains 6 tracks (28 minutes entirely). The starting five minutes belong to the recycled Dayvan Cowboy and the final nine – to Odd Nosdam's wandering remix of the same. And the rest of the tracks that clock out around a minute and a half represent a great material, based on ghostly effects and skeletal melodies with quarter-speed hip-hop beats. This conceptual work, even put on repeat mode, wouldn’t appear boring for you in any way while driving along a highway.

Trans Canada Highway – a Dreamlike Journey

Trans Canada Highway, the six-track hallucinogenic road trip of isolation and exploration, ends up almost where it started, with a moody, twilight distillation of Dayvan Cowboy courtesy of Odd Nosdam. The final point with its almost beatless soundscapes only distantly reminds of the starting one. The sun-kissed Dayvan Cowboy, also the first single from The Campfire Headphase, marks a shift towards more typical meter and melody for the duo with the key-role of electric guitars, that help to dissipate the song’s lingering trip-hop odors. As to the kind of ambient remix by Odd Nosdam, it is mostly unrecognizable and has its outstanding moments and drone-inspired allusions to its source material. Skyliner is a catchy, keyboardy workout with an upbeat tempo and fragmented melody. Left Side Drive with its asthma inhaler-synths, warbling melodies and easy, clanging rhythms, is vintage Boards of Canada – spacious and gorgeously arranged. Incandescent and brief Heard From Telegraph Lines and the barely-there ambient shudder of Under the Coke Sign make two more transcendent tracks.

Boards of Canada’s Conceptual Work

Boards of Canada seem to need more room for their ideas to develop, and the songs on Trans Canada Highway feel like only partial revelations of a far bigger structure. However Boards of Canada produce optimal work that should be neither truncated nor reconstructed. The duo have done an effective job of conveying the image of a trek across a vast, empty space and have created a welcome addition to an already canonical catalog of their albums. Such records as Global Communication – Fabric 26, Plaid – Greedy Baby, DJ Shadow – Funk Spectrum, Nightmares on Wax – In a Space Outta Sound are akin to the Trans Canada Highway. You are knee deep in the rhythm before you know it.

Rate review4.71
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