I was up late chatting with a fellow BoC fan the other night.
We were discussing that BoC is not just music, but it always points towards something ultimate and mysterious. It’s impossible to say what that is, but it’s palpable in their music, photography and films. Even when they do not create the photographs themselves, the discovery and presentation of such images, sounds, quotes or films seem to contain their consciousness. My friend said that they must have some form of cosmic consciousness and I couldn’t agree more.
I think when I first heard the campfire headphase, I had massive expectations, a fault that I admit to being my own, and it affected the way I received that album in a negative way. I was one of those geogaddi obsessives who enjoyed hunting for meaning and messages, spinning the record backward and at different speeds, but only because I knew it was there, and it was intentionally provoked. So, greedily, I wanted more post-geogaddi.
There is an art to listening as well as to making, and what I have learned from Zen has made me reconsider how I hear albums. Hear it now, without dragging a past, without expectations, hear it in its own light in its own moment, not as a comparison.
Campfire seems to deliberately quieten after geogaddi, steps back outside into the fresh air and, perhaps, meditates. It still contains that pointer towards the mysterious, but it is not so concentrated. Geogaddi seems like an overwhelming psychedelic experience full of introverted claustrophobic entanglements of fractals, spirals and wholetone outlandishness. Campfire is like when soberness has started to return and you are staring into the fire, recalling perhaps, but the profundity and mystery is residually echoing around your mind as it begins to settle into its everyday condition. So if there is a link between the albums, it seems to be that.
I listened to campfire start to finish yesterday, no distraction, no analysing, no expectation. I felt like I had been on a journey, I felt like I had witnessed a whole day and night, or perhaps longer, maybe years. I felt like I had been on a road trip, looking out of a car window, waking up in a tent in the morning, and then in the latter part of the album, somewhere up in the clouds before watching the fire die and smoulder into a micro landscape of black and orange shimmering waves.
I was looking through the photos on their myspace, even they have this powerful indescribable wordless message that I became familiar and addicted to back in 1999 when I first heard MHTRTC.
I can’t rate them highly enough. I don’t think anyone has ever done what they have done. At surface level you may hear hip hop beats, synth melodies, vocal samples… all of which have been done a million times, but it’s not those elements I talk about, it’s what’s between them, or within them, and I don’t mean literally intervals, syncopation or timbre, those are but a vehicle for something far more mysterious that, as far as I have found, is only present in their music.