Greetings friends, admirers, and fellow-travellers from around the globe. The new year finds me in high spririts and deeply committed to my Buddhist ideals. I have fully embraced the life of aesticism, chastity, purity, and mental clarity informed by nothingness that I was taught at the monastery where I spent much of the 1990’s. But it is a new year and indeed a new millenium, and now I practice my faith from high atop a foothill in Northern California, surrounded by the lush magestry of nature and creation.
Recently I made an amazing discovery– just behind my property lies a massive cannabis field full of giant, glistening buds whose pungent, delicious aroma wafts through the breeze and tickles my nose. Of course I am not tempted by the wonderful, pleasing scent, even with my many memories of joyous times and sweet, honey-like meditation. My Buddhist life is one of suffering and nothingness, and there is no room for such earthly delights.
However there is room for blessed music, and I have been blessed with one of the most perfect and wonderful albums to drift across my transom in some time. I am speaking about the reissue of Boards of Canada’s Twoism.
Twoism is a re-issue but for my purposes it was a new record, as all traces of it had been mysteriously erased from my memory. This is a good thing, I discovered, as the beats and sounds of Twoism are like memories from another dimension– they speak to something deep within the natural soul inside all living things, and yet seem to have an alien heart all their own. Soft, understated, and subtle in their sonic form, they are deep, intense, and soul-capturing in their effect on the mind and body.
The music changes from the ineffable to the unspeakable, gliding between the chaos of order and the order of chaos. Most of the sounds are machine-generated beats and keyboard loops, however there are organic tones as well.
The overall mood of the album, like most Boards of Canada work, might be described by some as melancholy, but to me its more a celebration of the complexity of the simple. Listening to Twoism is like watching raindrops race each other slowly down a window as a child. You are entranced by how similar and yet how different each drop is, and how no two take exactly the same path. In the history of electronic music and perhaps all music there has not been a more Zen record than this one. If you have ever lied down in the soft grass and looked at the blades around you and the sky beyond them then you can instinctively understand this record, for it is a perfect contradiction like life itself. Elemental and yet infinite, timeless and yet in the moment…
I drifted deep into the music and began to float among the skyís many pieces as a part of its molecules. I was directed by the hexagonal sun which used its warm rays to lift my spirit above the realm and into the river of karma and enlightenment. I soared above the world and yet was more a part of it than I had ever been. I felt the sartori was at last upon me and my heart filled with a dense nothingness unlike any I have experienced. It was at that moment that I was suddenly returned to earth with the weight of gravity restored to my shoulders.
I opened my eyes and the surprise of my life was seated before me. Master Yogi Indra, my first teacher, sat before me, smiling. Patting the ground and removing the headphone of my iPod I blinked, seeing if the vision would disappear but it did not.
Later on in my simple dwelling, Master Indra told me that he had fallen on hard times and been removed from his monastery. It seemed that his uncompromising approach to Zen had led him to sit, without talking, for 2 years, leading his many students to distraction and much debauchery involving local girls and a potent home-brew made from fermented barley. After the local authorities got involved, it was all over for him an he was a changed and broken man who had not felt pleasure in months.
Luckily I knew exactly what to do. Guiding my former master as he had once guided me, I produced from deep within the folds of my voluminous orange robe a package of Rizla+, a spare iPod, and a flashlight. His eyes lit up but they were full of questions. I merely bowed and beckoned for him to follow.
We walked behind my property under the stars and in total silence. The crisp northern air gave our journey a certain air-borne sense of purpose and determination, and in no time we were standing in the large field of glorious, resin-encrusted, jewel-like buds. Flecked with both orange and purple hairs, they practically sparkled in the starlight, just begging to be cured and puffed. Just by chance a couple of weeks earlier I had chopped down a few stalks and left them to dry in a lean-to at the Western edge of the field.
Without a word Master Yogi Indra and I put on our headphones, cranked up Twoism, and puffed until dawn. Slowly his bitterness and failures drained away, to be replaced by a fulsome nothingness that cannot be described in words, and perhaps can only exist in music and in thought. Some music leads your spirit to a new place, some tells you where you are. Boards of Canada is able to do both at the same time, leading you on a journey you don’t know you’re on until it’s time to press “repeat”.
Boards of Canada website