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Monday, April 29, 2013

Why Is San Francisco on the Cover of the New Boards of Canada Album?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Doesn't that skyline look familiar?
  • Doesn't that skyline look familiar?

Sorry, but we found the scavenger hunt/nerd labyrinth/Fibonacci sequence or whatever it was that would reveal news about the much-anticipated new Boards of Canada album too tedious to follow. Details of the Scottish electronic duo's first record in eight years arrived online today in a much less arduous format: the press release. Tomorrow's Harvest will arrive June 11 via Warp, and is now available for preorder.

One little Boards of Canada mystery did strike our curiosity, however, and it has to do with the cover of Tomorrow's Harvest, which you can see above. Peer closely at the city skyline. Does it look familiar? If you've ever looked at San Francisco from Treasure Island (or a boat on the Bay), it ought to. Update, 3 p.m.: A keen reader in the comments points out that this is actually the view of S.F. from the former Alameda Naval Air Station. See photos below for comparison.

Now, we don't have any explicit confirmation that this is an image of San Francisco -- only a strong hunch. But look at those buildings: There's the unmistakable silhouette of the Transamerica pyramid, the high shoulders of the Bank of America Center (aka 555 California), the piercing towers atop 345 California, and even, maybe the broad face of One Maritime Plaza or the Embarcadero Center. Compare it with the photo below, of San Francisco from Treasure Island, and note the similarities.

So is this just a coincidence? Was the S.F. skyline just an easy grab on Google image search? Is the Tomorrow's Harvest cover a composite of several skylines, with some buildings from San Francisco and others from elsewhere? (Note, after all, the absence of Coit Tower, and the fact that two of the tallest buildings, 345 California and 555 California, seem to be reversed in the album artwork.)

Update: The Alameda perspective of this photo, as suggested by reader polpo in the comments below, looks like a match to us. See it below:


We've got a couple inquiries out on this, and will update this if we hear back. But in the meantime, when we look at the cover of the new Boards of Canada record, all we see is the S.F. Financial District.

-- @iPORT

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Ian S. Port


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