Tomorrow's Harvest, Boards of Canada
If 2013 has been the year of the long-awaited reappearance—My Bloody Valentine, David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk—perhaps it’s fitting that the best album of the bunch comes from the act making the least-trumpeted return. With Tomorrow’s Harvest, reclusive Scottish duo Boards of Canada has delivered its best material in more than a decade. The fourth full-length from brothers Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin remains in the pair’s familiar aural zone—dreamy electronic textures fusing original sounds with strange samples—except that the music’s wondrous optimism seems to have given way to a certain tense intensity. Most of the record’s 17 compositions—from strength-gathering long cuts “Jacquard Causeway” and “New Seeds” to more shapeless short pieces like “Telepath” and “Uritual”—portend even as they shimmer. To paraphrase the title of BOC’s 1998 classic, it’s as if music still has the right to children, but in 2013, it’s far less certain about the future of the world in which they’ll grow up.