In the trinity of artists recording analogue synthesizers to wobbly tapes, Boards of Canada is the father and Christ. is obviously the sacrificial son. That would, appropriately, make Freescha a ghost. While Nick Huntington and Michael McGroart have been creating music since the late nineties, they are often overlooked, perhaps due to their California location. This retrospective of their first three EPs is evidence of just how essential they are.
“Bulb,” previously only available on vinyl, is an epic track that slowly builds for nine minutes. Synths play over a hip-hop beat, then dissolve into a vocoder chant. “Smokestack” is a masterpiece of deliberate contemplation. Snares roll like waves while fuzzy electronics and bird calls form an imaginary landscape. The half dozen tracks from Volume 2 are old favorites of mine. The layers of organ on “Lift” perfectly capture that religious feeling of dusty sunbeams filtered through a stained-glass window. When the beats change, it’s almost enough to bring tears to my eyes. “Pequod” is another notable track with its distorted beats, hip-hop-inspired vocal samples, and nostalgic synths.
Disc 2 compiles short, promotional pieces which were distributed online as well as compilation appearances and a couple of demo tracks. The highlights for me are alternate versions of tracks from Whats Come Inside Of You, which is still my favorite Freescha release. There are a handful of tracks here that seem more like experiments than full songs, but this is such an enjoyable collection overall, I don’t mind the diversions. In fact, this double-disc set has restored my faith in melodic electronics. If only there were more collections like this one.