An Unofficial Guide to Boards of Canada Rarities
About this site
This site provides the best available downloads of the early Boards of Canada demo cassettes and rams from the pre-WARP era. As a slightly obsessive collector and long time BOC fan, I invested an embarrassing amount of time and effort in collating the highest available quality rips of all these releases and believe that the results should be shared with the wider fan community.
If you need to contact me, please use e-mail.
I have a dropbox page where you can upload files to me, either to provide higher quality rips, new tracks or if you would like me to try and verify whether some tracks you have come across are fake or not.
About the Rips
AFOT, OTv2 and R35TT are the only albums or EPs that have surfaced of pre-Twoism Boards of Canada. This information is entirely about the provenance of the rips and not about the music. For discussion about the music and things like sample sources you're better to visit my good friends over at bocpages.
A Few Old Tunes / Old Tunes Vol 2
A Few Old Tunes and Old Tunes Vol 2 are essentially mixtapes which the band sent to record labels as demos, as well as distributed amongst friends.
Very few original copies are known to exist - Twoism user dealer claims to be close friends with a family member and has posted photos of his copies; WATMM user rinzence spectacularly increased the value of these tapes by destroying one of each in a Vine clip (RIP); they previously belonged to mike p (muziq). There are a few others - a copy of AFOT belonging to Todd Osborne of Technical Equipment Supply, Michigan was spotted in his shop by a Twoism user; in another Twoism thread, user ravedamage tells all about a second generation AFOT / Boc Maxima rip he managed to get his hands on via uni connections.
A Few Old Tunes has leaked online more than once. A set of 160kbps MP3s is the rip that was most commonly seen online before this website was put in place; however that rip suffers from extremely poor sound quality. A second rip, in 192kbps MP3, has the best sound quality, but annoyingly, it is only partial - the final track is Original Nlogax.
Regardless of what rip of AFOT you currently listen to, I've pieced together the best I can get in the download listed at the top of the page. It is better than any that came before it in terms of the track naming, tagging, consistency and audio quality.
OTv2, by contrast, seems only to have been leaked from cassette once, and in poor quality. However, some tracks did appear on a scene release in what claims to be CD quality and I've incorporated these into the above ZIPs. There's not a lot to say about this - except that if you've got an OTv2 tape please rip it from a decent deck and send me the FLACs :)
Random 35 Tracks Tape
If you think information on AFOT and OTv2 seems sparse, you should consider the R35TT. Even MDG, the Hexagon Sun official contact on the net, has called it a "mystery, just a mixture", although he has confirmed that the tracks are legitimate. Joyrex of WATMM claims to have a copy of this tape, although has not been particularly forthcoming with proof as far as I could find (if you're reading, please rip it from a decent tape deck for the love of God.) The tracks are labelled Audiotrack A01 - A15 and B01 - B20 and their real names are not known, (even to Joyrex who somehow got the tape without the j-card). The only tracks which I have been able to assign names to in the ZIPs above are ones which appeared on other releases.
Definitely the most mysterious rare BOC release, r35tt originally leaked in 2004 in various guises - "random 35 tracks tape (rarities and the best of - not old tunes v1 or v2)"; "unreleased materials"; "rare cassette tracks"; "hexigon sun tape" [sic]. these folders appeared on audiogalaxy and slsk, complete free of any kind of explanation. "Unreleased Materials" was missing most of side B and of a lower bitrate, so "random 35 tracks" became the most widely downloaded folder.
However, the tracks from side B of unreleased materials are unquestionably of a higher fidelity than those on r35tt, despite being a lot noisier. Similarly, "rare cassette tracks" contains most of side B and is definitely much noiser, but far more detailed.
Considering the above, then, you might be surprised listening to R35TT in its entirety that side B is far less noisy than side A. I suspect what has happened here is that on the original tape, as owned by the leaker (presumably a single individual), side B has been poorly transferred and is very noisy. When this leaker eventually managed to take a complete 320k rip, they applied some noise reduction to side B in order to compensate - unfortunately, they have been quite unsuccessful and have totally gimped the fidelity of the tracks in the process.
I am relatively hopeful that there is a complete rip of side B without noise reduction applied somewhere out there - please listen to any copies you have, if side B is much hissier than side A all the way through I would love if you could e-mail me about it so that we can try to find someone competent to apply more delicate noise reduction.
If you want to read about this, you want bocpages - there is nothing new to say here other than I took some .rm files and converted them to mp3. These tracks claim to be from old tapes called "Acid Memories", "Hooper Bay" and "Play by Numbers". In the last few years, speculation on the interwebs has grown around the idea that these tapes might never have existed, and were made up as a kind of folklore. I don't have conclusive proof either way, but if you do, send me an e-mail and I will update my info :)
More info to follow
As I've said above, the ZIPs available for download from this website are compiled from various sources. For the absolute completionist, I have uploaded the unedited original sources. None of these, in my opinion, make a single good release on their own, and for the casual listener I recommend sticking to the compilations at the top.
- unreleased materials (r35tt)
- rare cassette tracks (r35tt)
- hexigon sun tape (coming soon)
- old tunes vol 1 (coming soon)
2014 "Doors of Perception" Remaster
This remaster landed in the rareboc dropbox back in 2014. I've had remasters before but this one is of particularly high quality. Most of OTv2 still sounds like, well... like it always sounded. But as remasters go, it is really nice - and it comes with decent artwork scans, so, here you go - old tapes remaster.
Notes on copyright
All the tracks available for download on this site are © Marcus Eoin and Michael Sandison. No copyright is claimed by rareboc.org for any text, images or audio available on this site.
Morally speaking, I have occasionally had people question whether I should really be sharing these files. It's a valid question. But these tracks are already easily available online in various mislabelled and poor quality guises, from shady sharing websites, torrents, and soulseek folders. Some of these even illegally try to make money on the tracks either through selling the mp3s for money or by bundling adware.
I guess BOC probably would rather the tracks had never leaked at all, but I also hope that they would prefer that people listened to their tracks in the best available quality from a pretty open source than from somewhere shady.
I'll only ever post download links to releases which have not been made available commercially. Should any official release of these tracks come about then I'll remove these download links immediately and forever.