Parable – Monument

It’s a touch comical how much I’ve written about Boards of Canada on this blog over the years. In 2021, I wrote a piece about the Kahvi Collective’s Tangents compilation, which was an unrepentant Boards of Canada tribute album, made out of a longing and impatience for more BoC material. On that record, we heard manifest the yearnings of fifteen artists expressing their devotion to the Scottish duo. At the time, I wrote about the compilation as if those songs were made specifically in tribute, almost as an invocation for the brothers Eoin/Sandison to return from their hibernation. While it may partly have been that, it may have been naive of me to think those artists weren’t already writing music like that out of pure inspiration, not just as an exercise in conjuration. BoC are not just missed, they’ve also legitimately birthed a subgenre.

It’s no longer enough to recognize that BoC’s music revolves around nostalgia; their music has become nostalgia. A generation of musicians like me have grown up with them, and now many of their qualities have been absorbed and become the sincere expressions of others. It’s almost unfair to call the resulting music derivative, or at least not in a critical sense. It’s like calling Raider Klan records derivative of Three Six Mafia; or modern electro released on the likes of Central Processing Unit derivative of Planet Rock, Kraftwerk, or Cybotron; or the sea of current ambient music derivative of Brian Eno. Sure, in all these examples, the current artists working in those subgenres do literally derive portions of their sounds from the work of those originators, but participating in a subgenre doesn’t make one’s music unoriginal, or for that matter any less enjoyable or emotionally important.

Parable (real name Julien Hauspie) is an artist from Kortrijk, Belgium. He belongs to this generation of consanguineous artists, linked by their mutual debt to Eoin and Sandison. His debut album is Monument, self-released earlier this year. While it certainly owes much of its sound to the oft-mentioned duo—particularly in its pace and liberal use of reel to reel tape warble—Monument is gorgeous in its own right. Perhaps more importantly, I walk away from it firmly facing forward, filled more with hope than a romantic aching for the past. There’s something matutinal about this record; it’s a sunrise record. It’s open-hearted and full of light and warmth. BoC records are of course some of the warmest electronic music ever produced, but they are often sunset records, characterized by a contemplative rear gaze, as opposed to an eagerness to tackle whatever today has in store.

Hauspie apparently wrote much of the record as an ode to the nature he experienced while backpacking across Europe, which may explain some of Monument‘s wide-eyed optimism. Even the record’s darker moments (e.g., “North Central”, “Undercurrent”) can’t quite contain the underlying flashes of light; the hope overpowers the melancholy. There are dozens of quietly joyous moments throughout the album, but Hauspie’s compositions shine brightest when he lets down the guardrails and embraces the ecstatic. The album’s opener, “Taking Control” brims electric; “Flashpoint” is like a modern day pagan devotional, rich with a sense of gratitude for the natural world; and pre-release single “Pin Drops” stirs in me the desire to run wide-armed through a wheat field. (By the way, I posted the lovely video for “Pin Drops” a few months ago, which is well worth checking out.)

Ultimately, Monument is a record beaming with love and sincerity. There’s enough of the past in it to make me smile about what I’ve already loved, but more so, it makes me want to bring new into the world.


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