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Please excuse my naiveté, the question is genuine:

At what point did BoC transform from being simply one of the Warp Big Three to obsessed over love child of the great unwashed?  

 

A brief history, from my perspective:

BoC release MHTRTC in 1998 and I hear the band for the first time.  Great stuff, I approve and buy anything from them that I can.

(stuff)

BoC release TCH.  I personally think it their best work to date but most of the rest of the BoC knowledgeable world seems to disagree.

2010-2012ish, my brother mentions a friend of his listens to BoC, (first indication I have BoC have crossed into the wider consciousness of the world)

TH released; >much< press garnered from many unexpected sources.

MANIA!!

 

So, was it really the TH release hype that elevated BoC into the stratosphere of obsessive fanboy zealotry?  Or was it the user made videos on youtube which gave exposure to a much wider audience?  Or was it the Adult Swim bumpers and other media appearances?  Or was it the name drop by Bowie?  Or was it something else I'm not aware of?  Surely it wasn't just the mystique of their reclusive nature, though I'm sure that helped fuel the fire once lit.  Perhaps it was a slow burn of all those factors, which finally snowballed into the obsession that exists today.

 

Enlighten me.  And please do so without telling me how great/unique/emotionally evocative their music is; I get that part.  It doesn't explain the mania, especially when so many other great/unique/emotionally evocative artists still languish in obscurity.

 

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Personally speaking, primarily it was when I read further into the finer details of Geogaddi of which were completely unknown to me for years, I was astonished and that certainly took them up a few notches in my mind. I thought it was genuinely fascinating. 
 

The subjects they write about (apocalypse, cults, psychedelic camping trips, the devil etc etc) through mostly instrumental music is genuinely fascinating.

And also how they keep themselves in this day and age mostly a mystery, is, yes genuinely fascinating.

I don’t worship them on any ridiculous level as I’m too old and busy with my life for all that but I’m acutely aware I totally love them to bits.

Edited by beerwolf
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imo it was well before TH, and was just a combination of many factors.

Geogaddi got lots of good reviews and internet-press right around the time when music journalism sites were super popular and set the agenda of what was considered 'cool' music.  The mysterious aspects of that album would have led people into their back catalogue, which is even more mysterious, which kind of captured the zeitgeist of blogs and internet-storytelling around that time.

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I guess it took some time for BoC to get traction. In 1998 MHTRC barely entered charts in UK with peak position at 193. But BoC started gaining slowly momentum by word of mouth and internet forums and piracy I guess, because they weren't really touring or anything. I think I became aware around 2000-2001ish..

In 2002 Geogaddi's peak position was 21 in the UK charts so BoC definitely had much larger audience already. After this release I started to read all kinds of weird stories about BoC so I guess the mythology was building up.

twoism.org came to being around 2004. So that signifies some kind of larger obsessive fan base.

For TCH in 2005 it was only 41, but BoC started to enter charts internationally. And the infamous Red Moon Incident was in 2005.

And then I guess the thing really blew up while people started to wait for the next album and the hype was building. TH went in UK charts to highest position at 7 in 2013.

So, IDK, maybe by 2004 there was already some cult like following but it really grew during the wait up and hype for TH.

 

Edited by zkom
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I tried to remember the first strange BoC stories and I remembered this weird thing, had to see if I could still find it. This is from 2001: https://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg02622.html

Is this some very weird guerrilla marketing campaign or just somebody's joke?

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Thanks for the replies.  Based on what's been said so far, I infer the zealotry was established long before the mainstream popularity set in.  And when BoC popularity did finally go critical around the release of TH, that zealotry had become more or less established as part of the fandom, at least as it was perceived by many and reiterated by not only those zealous fans but the media as well.

 

I was always well aware of BoC's reclusive nature but I honestly never dug for answers myself and thus was never aware of communities like twosim or even bocpages until very recently.  

 

I guess the remaining question surely on the minds of any BoC fan is: does Brett look more like Marcus or Michael?

 

 

boc_mel.jpg

 

 

And I couldn't resist.

 

BOC_lunarouge.jpg

Edited by tailings
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Yeah early 2000s for sure. They released a fair amount of stuff in quick succession then, Beautiful Place..., the Geogaddi promo and album, and the Twoism reissue. Also Soulseek's heyday, when it had a very busy IDM chatroom. A couple of years later (definitely before TCH) DavidAC had already stopped maintaining his fan site because he felt they'd gotten popular enough where he didn't have to carry the torch anymore.

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I think the early MP3 sharing by P2P services played a lot in how popular BoC got. Basically bypassed the normal PR and distribution channels that still relied a lot in touring and music videos for marketing in the late 90s and early 2000s. BoC didn't do either.

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Hah I remember when TH was due to drop and Rough Trade had closed up for the day, and they were putting up a window display of the album, quite possibly rearranging some lights and those dudes on twoism were spazzing out and gonna jump in their cars and drive down there from all over the country. Even one of the cool headed moderators was ready to burn rubber and get to London just in case BOC turned up in capes, lasers and billowing fog machines. It's just a window display lads, calm down.

I think all the Red Moon business, all the Geogaddi satanic stuff, only 2 or 3 live shows, then all the years of 'radio silence' were vital ingredients for BOCmania. And after the fermentation of Radio Silence when things reached fever pitch we had a release announced in codes about an album which was themed about the incoming apocalypse. 

It doesn't get much better than that in my opinion 😎

Edited by beerwolf
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On 9/18/2020 at 6:16 PM, tailings said:

It doesn't explain the mania, especially when so many other great/unique/emotionally evocative artists still languish in obscurity.

Personally, no other artist has effectively conjured up memories of my childhood and teens in musical form. BoC takes me right back to playing outside as a kid, or being in fusty science rooms in school watching 70's VHS documentaries about volcanoes. I'm sure this resonates with a lot of other people too, hence the 'fandom'. That will obviously connect with me more than, say, My Bloody Valentine or Deerhunter, who I like just as much minus the nostalgia kick. 

The main reason for the BoC levels of popularity today would surely be the prevalence of what people now call 'Hauntology' (which I find incredibly wanky as a name). Concepts of lost futures, the nostalgia for the past, etc, are very in-vogue at the moment. Lots of artists were attempting this and citing BoC as an influence. BoC just happened to be doing this all in the late 90's, within a fairly niche corner of electronic music at the time. 

I'd actually hazard a guess that, with MHTRTC and earlier, they weren't particularly focused on the whole 'Hauntology' thing at all. There's loads of hip hop influence in that album, particularly with the beats & sampling from various sources. Like anything popular ever, they just managed to touch on something that a lot of people could relate to.

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🍆🍆🍆

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