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2006’s ‘Trans Canada Highway’ is a crucial EP which explicitly referenced Boards of Canada’s Kraftwerk connection once more, serving to reconnect that link in the wake of 2005’s guitar-led ‘The Campfire Headphase’. If 2002’s ‘Geogaddi’ seemed to reinterpret the nuclear dread of Kraftwerk’s ‘Radioactivity’, then ‘Trans Canada Highway’ connected with the open road optimism of ‘Trans Europe Express’, led by the summery ‘Davyan Cowboy’, where flanged guitars and earthy hip-hop beats promise to roll on forever until the sunrise.
‘Skyliner’ pushes together Boards’ familiar elements into a mixture which is taut and propulsive, rather than introspective. The track’s synths swell in and out imparting a momentum that has more in common with house music than tripping hip-hop, while layers of rippling pitched percussion recall Talking Heads at their finest. ‘Heard From the Telephone Line’ is a classic pensive ambient cut from the duo, but feels shot through with a wide-eyed hope which on other records is either absent or subverted, while ‘Under The Coke Sign’ equally emphasises a sense of an expansive motorway landscape in all its wonder. It is the concise focus of the EP which further makes it a unique release within Boards of Canada’s output, creating a sense of endless travel not through mere depiction but by offering the listener sharp glimpses of distinct moments, untempered by the more sinister subject matter which dominates much of their work.
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