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Tomorrows Harvest - Today


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On 8/31/2017 at 3:40 PM, Embers said:

I came across an interesting quote in my readings and saw the immediate applicability to the album. This quote was so powerful and the connections to the album so clear that I contemplated it for days and wrote up my thoughts. Or maybe I'm just severely autistic, eh, probably. You make up your own mind.


Marcus Manilius (fl. 1st century AD), a Roman poet and astrologer, said of the Gemini twins in his poem Astronomica,


Astronomica itself is a hexameter didactic poem.
The number 6 and associated symbolism (primarily, hexagons) is a recurring item in Boards of Canada's music.
Didactic refers to something that is "intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive." - Tomorrow's Harvest could be interpreted as didactic, commentating on how our current behaviours affect ourselves, our environment and inform our future (direct instruction / teaching), but also providing an opportunity for self-reflection, reparations and a path to salvation (moral instruction - "a more agreeable way of life", "banish the arms of war", "life of ease...in the arms of love").
Comments on phrases from the quote, as they relate to Tomorrow's Harvest
"...laborious callings..." - a direct reference to the album's title. A call to action. Work that must be performed soon. Something that must happen in the future. Something that must be faced in the future. Tomorrow's Harvest. Ties in with the sense of "something impending" oft used to described the album, even by the brother's themselves in an interview.
"...less laborious callings and a more agreeable way of life..." - the quote indicates that the Twins call for an easement in work, or hardship, and a better way of living. This ties back into the moral instruction of the album. The only way to prevent our future suffering is to better ourselves in the present, to unburden ourselves from potential hardship. We can change the future by changing the present, that we do not need to walk the path of self-destruction.
"...provided by varied song and voices of harmonious tone, slender pipes, the melodies inborn in strings and the words fitted thereto..." - a direct reference to the music.
After the trumpet vignette (which itself is a signal of the coming apocalypse, as said in the Bible's Book of Revelation), the body of the track Gemini fades in with strings.
slender pipes and melodies - woodwind, particularly flute-esque melodies, are a recurring theme in BoC's music.
words fitted thereto - the album heavily features both subtle and non-subtle samples of human spoken word, Gemini included.
"...the gloom of old age..." - the emphasis on the old age being a negative ties in with the moral instruction to change for the better, that something has changed or will [have to] change for the better. The transition from the old age to the new age, from darkness to light, that something is not the end but the beginning. This further ties in with the theme of cycles on the album. This is perhaps reflected in the track Gemini by the swirling, oscillating noise that backs the intense striking of chords. The album itself goes through 5 cycles of birth>death>rebirth and can be correlated to the 4 sides of the vinyl edition.
Side A: Gemini (the call for better living) > Jacquard Causeway (an uneasy, perhaps perilous time or journey)
Side B: Telepath (a new kind of life) > Collapse (destruction)
Side 😄 Palace Posy (a very indigenous beat in this track, almost tribal/primitive, represents the dawn of a new society) > Sundown (coming of darkness)
Side 😧 New Seeds (a new beginning, a new era, a new society) > Come To Dust (to die), followed by Semena Mertvykh ("Seeds of the Dead" - a new society emerges from the ashes) which cycles back onto the first track, Gemini.
"...unfading youth..." - BoC often touch on nostalgia, most often tied to sensory experiences that occurred in our youth, and directly ties in with BoC's style and sound. In the context of the quote, it implies a positive: direct instruction to be carefree, to live well and happily. However, on Tomorrow's Harvest, it is commentary that we are negatively tied to the past, and the moral instruction to better ourselves is to unhinge from the past and instead look forward to where we are headed. The duality of this interpretation, not only a reference to the duality of the Gemini twins, but also highlights the tension between where we currently are at, and where we should be. That tension is change, specifically and how society often oscillates (cycles) between change and resistance to change.
"...discover paths to the skies..." - reflective of the album's imagery, particularly the music video for "Reach for the Dead" which features scenes of flying through the sky, the air, the sign of Gemini. But also implies a level of technological sophistication, as a human requires understanding and invention of tools to fly. It is interpreted that technology may be our downfall, that it may outstrip our control, causing a catastrophic event. The album is littered with reference to understanding and technology, from the radioactive yellow on the vinyl (nuclear technologies requires understanding of matter), to the idea of a harvest (a human development that requires understanding of agriculture and associated technologies). Perhaps the idea is that which brings us so much ease and knowledge, that which identifies us as human - our ability to craft and use tools - can also undo us. Not an original idea for the album, but a common one used in all sorts of media that touches on catastrophic/apocalyptic failings of humans. 
"...complete a survey of the heavens with numbers and measurements..." - a call back to BoC's earlier work that was heavily laden with references to mathematical concepts (numbers and measurements). A meta-reference that BoC themselves have yet again changed their sound on Tomorrow's Harvest. It may be BoC saying they as people have changed ("We've become more nihilistic", as quoted in an interview), an implicit example that people can change. The idea of surveying and measurement also ties back into the previous line of thought of technological sophistication and building knowledge. But can also be abstracted into the idea of surveying and measuring how things are, to make an assessment and to make changes for the better.
"...outstrip the flight of the stars..." - still following the line of thought on technological sophistication.
"...nature yields to their genius, which it serves in all things." - commentary on the ubiquity and pervasiveness of technology in nature. That their genius (their technology, their ability to manipulate their surroundings with said technology) serves all things (complete control of nature). But when we are so in control of our environment, what do we do with all that power? That is the core question presented on Tomorrow's Harvest- and we can be destructive or fruitful. This is the ultimate moral consideration presented here.
"So many are the accomplishments of which the Twins are fruitful." - the ultimate direct instruction. We should use what control have for the better, to be fruitful, and for all to prosper without war, but in peace and love. To not live in the old age, but move into a new age. To live a more agreeable way of life.

 this post slaps. wild analysis.

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