Boards of Canada (partially found early albums of Scottish electronic band; 1980s-1990s)

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Cassette liner for A Few Old Tunes.

Status: Partially Found

Boards of Canada are a Scottish electronic band formed in 1986 by brothers Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin. Well known for their unique style of music, which draws from IDM, ambient and trip-hop, they are generally regarded as one of the most influential acts in electronic music. The band first received recognition with Music Has the Right to Children, which released in 1998 to critical acclaim.

The band has a large cache of early material dating from 1987 to 1996, which was privately distributed to friends and family. While a few of these releases have been made public, much of the band's early work remains private. As such, the vast majority of this material is considered lost.

Interest in the lost releases has steadily remained to this day. This is due in part to details about the material being made publicly available by a website called EHX — a now defunct site which covered the electronic music scene in Edinburgh, Scotland. Its webmaster was a friend of the band, and in turn, had access to their early work.[1] These details included cover art, full track listings, release dates, and most notably, three short samples ranging from 27 seconds to a minute long.

Limited-Release Albums

Catalog 3 (1987) (Lost)

Catalog 3 is the earliest known release by the band according to their old website,[2] though the title could imply that there may have been two prior releases. It's listed as having eight tracks, and has been described as "rather uneventful ambient electronica".[3] Though it was re-pressed in CD format, it still hasn't been heard outside of the band's friends and family.

Acid Memories (1989) (Partially Found)

Acid Memories is the band's second known release and is supposedly regarded as "less imposing"[4] than their previous album.  

There is some controversy regarding the cassette's artwork, which features the band's name — according to the band, they hadn't officially called themselves Boards of Canada until 1994. The discrepancy has led to numerous theories regarding the album's existence, but are ultimately unfounded. Other than a 27-second snippet of the track "Duffy", the album hasn't been heard by the public.

Closes Vol. 1 (1992) (Lost)

Closes Vol. 1 is the third album by the band, but was released under the name "b.o.c.".[5]  It also hasn't been heard outside of family or friends and there are no known samples.

Play by Numbers (1994) (Partially Found)

Play by Numbers is the fourth known release by the band and has been described as having a more strumming shoegaze sound similar to My Bloody Valentine.  A one minute excerpt of the track "Wouldn't You Like To Be Free?" is the only legitimate sample from the album.

Hooper Bay (1994) (Partially Found)

Hooper Bay is the fifth known release and is also the first to use their trademark samples of children's voices.[6] Like many of the previous albums, many purported fakes have been passed around the internet through peer to peer sites and often have mislabeled tracks by the band múm or are tracks from one of the Old Tunes volumes. The only legitimate sample is a 39-second snippet from "Circle" (which was posted on the now-defunct EHX website[7] in the early 90s). Track 7 from BoC's live performance at All Tomorrow's Parties in 2001 is speculated to be Noatak due to the similar length, a robotic sample of someone saying something that sounds phonetically similar to Noatak, the use of children's voices, and dark ambient akin to that of the sample of Circle.

Twoism (1995) (Found)

Twoism is the sixth known release and was the first to be heard outside of friends and family, although this was not the band's intention; with 100 cassettes produced, resales led to it becoming a highly demanded collectors' item.[8] Despite the EP's presence on early online marketplaces, its contents were never leaked. This was likely an effort to preserve its exorbitant value, as original copies were known to sell for more than US$1000. Ultimately, the EP was considered lost along with the preceding releases. No samples were known to have existed.

Following the band's 1998 breakthrough success, Twoism was reissued by Warp Records in 2002, marking the "ultra rare"[9] release found.

A Few Old Tunes/Old Tunes Vol. 2 (1995-1996) (Found)

A Few Old Tunes and Old Tunes Vol. 2 are the collective names of two previously unreleased cassettes that featured various tracks from the band that uses various different samples and the like. Like the other albums, it was mostly given to family and friends. However, in the early 2000s, it was leaked onto Soulseek by "Prince Murat". People speculated its legitimacy until a Hexagon Sun representative confirmed it was real after someone on eBay tried to sell it. They also revealed that the album may have been released as part of a collaboration between the band and Hexagon Sun had it not been leaked.

Boc Maxima (1996) (Found)

Boc Maxima was one of the latest known private albums. Only 50 copies were made for family and friends, like many of the others. However, in 2002, it was broadcast fully on Disengage and has since been put on the internet. Boc Maxima is thought to be the band's final private release. Their first publicly available album, Hi-Scores, was released in December of that same year.


"Duffy" sample (Acid Memories).

"Circle" sample (Hooper Bay).

"Wouldn't You Like To Be Free?" sample (Play by Numbers).

Random 35 Tracks Tape

In 2004, an album named "random 35 tracks tape - rarities and best of (not old tunes v1 or v2)" leaked on P2P filesharing network Soulseek, causing much drama at the time on fan forums like WATMM and twoism. None of the songs on the tape have been confirmed real or fake, and Hexagon Sun member MDG has said that it isn't known who compiled the tracks, calling it "a mystery, just a mixture". Boards of Canada have not made any statements regarding the tape. It was often referred to be as "Closes Vol. 2" or "A Few Old Tunes Vol. 3".


  1. article on EHX. Retrieved 29 Jan '23.
  2. The Wayback Machine archive of the Catalog 3 page on Boards of Canada's old website. Retrieved 09 Jun '13.
  3. An online Boards of Canada biography. Retrieved 09 Jun '13.
  4. An online Boards of Canada biography. Retrieved 09 Jun '13.
  5. page on b.o.c.'s Closes Vol. 1. Retrieved 09 Jun '13.
  6. article on Hooper Bay. Retrieved 09 Jun '13.
  7. article on now-defunct EHX website. Retrieved 09 Jun '13.
  8. article on Twoism. Retrieved 29 Jan '23.
  9. [ BBC article about Twoism's reissue and status as a lost album. Retrieved 29 Jan '23.