Boards of Canada has been a calming presence in my uni life since hearing them on a YouTube study mix in second year, after a half-decade of friends, ex-friends and music recommendation algorithms imploring that I give them a shot. I have to thank the duo not only for making some damn good music, but for helping me to quell the barrage of anxiety that is assessment season.
‘Aquarius’, like much of Music Has the Right to Children (1998), is a track made warm by nostalgia, though it doesn’t require you to have been there to get the full effect. Samples from old children’s TV shows meet analogue synth pads that make you feel like you’re in space – yet the intricate layering of beats and slap bass (taken from the track of the same name, from the musical Hair) keeps you grounded on Earth. It’s complex enough to keep you from falling asleep, with some gorgeous chord changes, while also being ambient enough to prevent distractions. My only regret is having to associate ‘Aquarius’ – and, by extension, Boards of Canada’s full discography – with long trawls through the MLA Bibliography and not just a nice chilled time.