The Campfire Headphase


I've been meaning to review this album for a while now. The review has kind of been sitting there in the back of my mind waiting to be written but I am just now getting the chance to sit down in a moment where I remembered to write it. I remember getting it a few weeks before it's release and being somewhat underwhelmed by the album as a whole. I remember wanting more.

I'e been listening to BOC since their first major release on Warp Records. I had immediately fell in love with their sound which at times made me want to dance and other times it did a good job of calming my nerves a bit. The best part of their music has always been the intricate ambient textures that would seem to be their trademark sound. My favorite album of theirs is actually not even a full album, it's the ep called In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country. In my mind it is the most well balanced and delicate work they have ever done. So onto the album at hand...

I have developed kind of a love/hate kind of relationship with tis release. As I mentioned before I really did not care for it at first. This may have been because I didnt really give it a fair chance and only skipped through the album impatiently. Maybe I just was not in the right mindset at the time to get into it. Who knows. When I started to listen to it al the way through I found myself liking it more and more and I eventually gave it a closer listed to catch onto what kinds of things they were doing differently this time around.

First off and probably most obviously, they have started to use acoustic instruments, mainly guitar, in there music which seems to make since if you think about it. Im still not sure weather I really like this or if I don't care for it. The little 30 secondish mini tracks are all still here but unlike on there previous releases, they are not any where nearly as focused. I had always seen these little songs as ideas that were so simple and complete on their own that they did not need to flesh them out into complete tracks because they worked so well as little statements that pulled there own weight. The ones on this release seem to be just kind of thrown in there just because thats what they do. Some of them seem all to familiar. I would also like to mention the production quality on this release. Part of what made me get lost in their older releases was the way the tracks always felt like they were all born into existence to be what they were. All of the layers within a song felt so fused together like some sort of an organism that was a living thing. There rich sounds really made the music come alive. On The Campfire Headphase I find that the songs feel thin in comparison to there past releases but in a strange sort of way that I'm not sure is a good thing or a bad thing. The quality on the production side of things has done nothing but grown over the years and there is no doubt about it, this album is there best sounding album. I know it may seem like I just contradicted myself there so let me elaborate just a wee bit. I think that it sounds thin simply because the production is so clean on this record. That magical fusion of sound that I love so much about BOC is somewhat lacking on this album. Each layer within the song is very crisp and has its own space within the track and generally this would be equated with a good quality mix but because everything is mixed right up front like it is I am not finding as many hidden little details as I listen to the songs. I guess when I see it written out like that it'd hardly a criticism at all.

It's still the same BOC that I know and love but it's just not quite as intimate as I am used to with their work you know? If you have heard their Beck remix that was recently released then you should be able to clearly draw parallels between the sound of the remix and this album. The remix would have fit in this album really well. Just thought I would mention this.

So overall I really enjoy this album but in a different way than I enjoy their older albums. This one feels like I'm listening to a radio friendly version of BOC that to me feels a bit foreign when I remember that I am listening to them but I guess it's a natural progression for one of the best electronic music producers putting out music today.

Sorry for writing such a vague review of the album, I would suggest anyone and everyone pick up a copy, get together with some friends, put this on, and enjoy a nice cozy party in front of a warm fire. At least thats what I envision when I hear it. So till next time....

Link to iTunes:
The Campfire Headphase