A dizzy orange-red memory peeks its way out, like the backlight through a Super 8 film disintegrating. Hazy, strobing. Often repeating, with slight changes each time. Kids running through a just browning field of hay, grass. Every time with the loop, a giggle. Something shouted but not understood. Smiles you can’t even really see are there.
But something lays underneath that orange-red. Something behind those smiles you can’t see. Something…something unpleasant. Something dark. Like knowing that you’ll come home after playtime to find out your dog had been run over.
This isn’t my memory. At least, it doesn’t seem like it was mine. Well, actually. It does, and it doesn’t.
This is Geogaddi. It’s an album that came to me during the summer of 2009. Rather, I came to it. I was 14 at the time. My best friend from 6th grade till 10th had scored a 250 mic hit of lab grade acid from Sweden. Back before we had a stable way to gain crypto to use on Silk Road, we used to mail literal currency to a person who would then (hopefully) deposit the money into our wallet. The seller even threw in a second hit for free, as we were first time customers.
That friend, whom I’ll call Panda here due to his obsession with a collective of animals, was on the forefront of musical delves. In 6th grade, when we met, it was all 60’s and 70’s folk, with some dad rock mixed in. After I had introduced him to marijuana, it all changed.
Soon, he started delving into hipster music sites. Message boards. Bands like Wilco, Olivia Tremor Control, of Montreal. Things like Chillwave. And he found a certain band he was eager to show me.
Fast forward to that night, a school night. We, being dumb teens in the middle of a Midwest town population 800, decided that was the perfect time to try Acid for the first time.
I won’t go into detail about the trip, unless asked, but there was one particular moment that sticks out as one of the most important in my life. That was when Panda put on The Color of the Fire. A song off Boards of Canada’s Music Has The Right to Children. If you’re unfamiliar, I recommend a listen. And try to imagine being in the mindset of a 14 year old Midwestern kid, with big dreams of psychological expansion and explosion. The craziest thing he’s heard up to this point being Tomorrow Never Knows.
Now stick him on psychedelics.
I won’t lie to you. This scared the fuck out of me. I don’t know who would have made such a thing, or why I listened. I hated the people responsible. He tried to show me more, but I wasn’t having it. We finished out the night with some Phish and Grateful Dead.
I had no idea that song would change my life more than the trip did.
I remember it being a few weeks. Something had been gnawing at me. Something I couldn’t quite remember. I asked Panda what that song was. Something about it would not let go of me.
So he showed me it again. On a relisten, with the knowledge of self I had gained from the trip and the ponderings thereafter, I realized why it terrified me so. It wasn’t the production, the sound. Not even the off putting child speaking. It was the feelings it evoked in me. “Sinister Nostalgia” I’ve taken to calling it.
A friend of the site knows me, so too do they know that my childhood and early adulthood were almost abhorrent. A Child Called It type stuff. Only when I moved out at 15 to live on my own did it marginally improve.
Something in that song reminded me of that. Of memories that I can recall being happy. But with something right under the sheen. Something greasy you could scratch up with your fingernail. The abyss that was gazing behind it, trying to catch my eye.
And I believe that’s why I hated that song on first listen. In my altered state, it forced me to openly face up the things I had gone through, the things I was going through, the things I would go through as soon as I left his house and returned home.
I soon started devouring everything I could by this group. How could they have managed to so perfectly encapsulate a general mode of operation my conscious mind wasn’t even aware it was going through?
Little as I know about my own shadowy hallways, even less is known about the band. They are two brothers. Marcus and Michael. Born in Scotland, but growing up in Canada. Had a great love for their childhoods, and the things they experienced in it. And that’s about all we are aware of.
They aren’t small time. The pair see play on BBC. I didn’t know it then, but I had already established myself with them with the other most important event in my life, being the discovery of [adult swim] at a very young age. Their music was often played over the classic mid-show bumps. They even used [adult swim] to advertise for their newest studio album, Tomorrow’s Harvest.
They became important enough to me that I Got It Tattooed on myself, my first week out of prison, as a late 18th birthday present to myself. I designed the logo while inside.
Rather than writing a long diatribe about each album and project that we’ll all get bored of reading about a fourth of the way in, I’d like to delve into each one and their specific meanings to me personally, in a small series of articles.
I truly believe that BoC’s music, motif, motivations, and mystery could benefit any of you out there reading this. Be you an artist, a scholar. A 9 to 5’er. A struggling musician hit by that unscalable Tower of Babel we call “block.” Or a soul in flux attempting desperately to understand just what or who you are. And I would be honored to be the friendly stranger guiding you through the collage of the Experience they offer.