eyesix: Conet Communications Workshop
Sparkwood Records

Let's first state the obvious: eyesix's Conet Communications Workshop is so reminiscent in style of Boards of Canada, it would be disingenuous to pretend otherwise. The twenty-two-minute EP features seven short tracks that could just as easily, it seems, be the handiwork of Boards of Canada alchemists Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin as Jason Dowd (aka eyesix). And, just as the preceding statement might lead one to expect, the EP's material includes its fair share of warbling synth patterns and samples of children's voices.

To be fair, Dowd executes the material skillfully, and the EP offers a consistently stimulating listening experience. He combines crisp downtempo beats, woozy synth melodies, and atmospheric ear candy (speaking voices, twittering birds) into concise song structures in a way that's never less than engaging, and any attempt to resist the seaside swoon of “Brú na Bóinne” proves well nigh impossible. And if we're being completely honest, some pieces feature sound designs so satisfyingly realized (e.g., “Monarch Shortwave”), one imagines Sandison and Eoin would be happy to claim them as their own.

If your one of those fanatics with an insatiable appetite for all things Boards of Canada, then Conet Communications Workshop may very well feel, then, like manna from heaven. But if you're someone who'd rather see an artist forge his/her own sound instead of working within territory already established by another, the release will likely appeal less. Put simply, Boards of Canada's sound is so indelible, it renders the output of acolytes, no matter how sincerely intended, superfluous.

April 2015