Boards of CanadaOne of the more unusual names in contemporary electronic music, not to mention sounds, Boards of Canada derived their identity from the 1970s documentary films of the National Film Board of Canada, and consist of Scottish brothers Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin; interestingly enough they hid their sibling relationship from the listening public for over ten years, claiming to be "just childhood friends" until a recent magazine interview. Boards of Canada make music for a genuine love of music; the majority of their releases are without advertising and few interviews. They have only performed a handful of times, and not in public for over 5 years; by way of explanation say they make their music firstly for themselves rather than commercial release. Their albums, each an individual project, separate from what went before and what will happen afterward, are the result of selecting complimentary pieces from a vast arsenal of current work; the 23 tracks that comprise the album Geogaddi (2002) were chosen from 400 song fragments and 64 complete songs; one of them consisted only of silence. Unusually, Geogaddi premiered with performances in six churches around the globe. The Boards of Canada "sound" is reminiscent at times of the warm, slightly scratchy, artificial sounds of 1970's television, and often features samples of children. Stylistically, it would correctly be categorised as ambient, but with a unique, nostalgic yearning for childhood, for happier days. As Michael Sandison describes the group's music: “We've touched upon the theme of lost childhood a few times because it's something personal to me that gives me real inspiration through its sadness. I think sometimes the best way to get inspiration is to face up to the things that make you very sad in your life, and use them.”

Imagine the internet as an enormous machine. Do we use the machine, or is the machine using us? This is the premise behind a brilliant video posted on YouTube recently, an imaginative exploration of the ideas behind “Web 2.0” by an associate professor of Digital Ethnology at Kansas State University. At the time of writing it has been viewed by well over a million people, speaking much of the power of internet to connect and inform us. Reading the comments left by viewers of video however speaks something of the opposite. I was fascinated by the idea of the internet once: the convergence of media and content which captivated almost everybody in the late 90's—time of boom before bust for what is now called Web 1.0, and birthplace for champions of an interconnected, permanently connected available-on-demand future is now—a Brave New World. How soon the imaginary becomes the ordinary... The idea behind the video is intriguing—that the internet is slowly evolving into a living, breathing, mindful entity through our use of it; the pathways we take, the content we create, the way we label things all teaching the“machine” to“think.” Is the machine serving us, or are we serving the machine?