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"Old Tunes" refers collectively to several controversial audio cassettes (comprising "A Few Old Tunes", "Old Tunes Vol. 1" and "Old Tunes Vol. 2") rumored to have been privately released by Scottish electronic music duo Boards of Canada, between 1995 and 1996.
Boards of Canada and their record label, Warp Records, have yet to publicly acknowledge the Old Tunes tapes as legitimate Boards of Canada material. Copies of these tapes were allegedly privately released, so very few tapes are known to exist.
In early 2005, a member of the WATMM forums attempted to sell two Old Tunes tapes in an online auction, but the auction was quickly shut down, and the tapes were never sold. In 2013, a fan listed copies of the Old Tunes tapes and Boc Maxima on eBay, but they were acquired by a private collector off eBay.
Boards of Canada has chosen to unlist all material predating their 1995 album, Twoism, due to the fact that most of their earlier recordings were reportedly never meant for public consumption. Rather, these mostly self-financed cassettes and CDs were distributed only to close family and friends of the band.
- Old Tunes Vol. 1 - 1995 (Music70). Limited cassette release.
- A Few Old Tunes - 1996 (Music70). Limited cassette release.
- Old Tunes Vol. 2 - 1996 (Music70). Limited cassette release.
Album art & pictures
A Few Old Tunes cassette liner. 
In early 2001, an incomplete set of 17 tracks labeled A Few Old Tunes was discovered on Soulseek, a music peer-to-peer file sharing program. Soon after, a separate complete set of the full 30 tracks appeared. Over the course of the next few months, more tracks surfaced under the titles Old Tunes Volume 1 and Old Tunes Volume 2, bringing the total number of Old Tunes MP3s to over 100.
The tracks appear to have been ripped directly from the original Old Tunes tapes, explaining the low fidelity of many of the files, and the tape hiss that can be heard in the background of many of the songs.
From the time the first Old Tunes tracks appeared on the Internet, they have been surrounded by controversy. Having seen a number of fake Boards of Canada "rarities" in the past , much of the Boards of Canada fan community initially viewed the Old Tunes collections with skepticism, especially considering the sheer number of tracks.
However, certain undeniable similarities with the band's studio work (including a few entire tracks included on later works) led to a general acceptance of the Old Tunes tapes as authentic.
Joyrex, a respected Boards of Canada authority with known contacts with the band, and administrator of the popular electronic music site WATMM, initially proclaimed the tapes to be fake. However, he later recanted and confirmed that they were legitimate.
He explained his actions by stating that the tapes were only distributed to close personal friends of the band, that they were never meant for public consumption, and that he deliberately lied about them in an attempt to halt their dissemination, acting in accordance with the wishes of the band.
Prince Murat affair
While MP3s of the Old Tunes tracks became fairly widespread on file-sharing networks, confirmed sightings of the original tapes remained elusive. This changed in February 2005, when a new user, "Prince Murat", appeared on the WATMM forums, claiming he owned original copies of A Few Old Tunes and Old Tunes vol. 2, and was looking to sell them. He backed his claims by posting photographs of the tapes; shortly afterwards the tapes were put up for auction at eBay, with a starting bid of $800 (USD). Included in the listing were more photographs and a high-resolution scan of the cover and liner notes of Old Tunes Vol. 2. The auction was quickly shut down without a winning bidder, after representatives of the band contacted eBay.
Debate continued on the WATMM forums, as Prince Murat defended his actions, claiming to be fighting the Boards of Canada "hype machine". This eventually led to a rare public statement from someone who is believed to be a representative of the band.
|“||OK, the reason it was jumped on was this: Warp and BoC have been in talks for a long while about putting out a box set of old tracks from these tapes and others, with new packaging and art, to be released sometime after the forthcoming record. The tapes were private comps given out to close friends a few years ago, long before the band imagined there would be this kind of interest, and long before the likes of Soulseek, etc. existed.
The tracks are out there now, nothing can be done about that, they've been circulating for a while and fans have them, so the decision was taken to at least consider tidying them up and repackaging them with decent exclusive artwork & more rarities. BoC never wanted these tracks presented this way, mislabelled and as poor-quality MP3 files.
There's no 'hype', these comps were never listed on any old discogs as they were never intended for mass release in the first place.
Now the intention is still to get round to scheduling a release of these tunes and other rare comps, but unscrupulous people like "Prince Murat" are obviously stealing the thunder of the proposed releases whilst trying to make a tidy profit in the process (A starting price of $799 speaks volumes about Prince Murat's true intentions. Who is trying to profit from hype here? If any money is going to be involved, surely the artist who wrote those tracks should be receiving the royalties, and not this person? There's no difference between this kind of profiteering and someone trying to sell a bootleg CD-R of Beck's new album months prior to release.)
Anyway, now you know, we hope the intervention hasn't caused too much negative feeling, after all, the concern that Warp and BoC have is that basically it's going to spoil the impact of a nice release that hopefully will be enjoyed by the fans.
The post was signed simply by "mark, hs" and was made from a privileged account, "Hexagon Sun Official", created specifically for the band's use in monitoring the forum for potentially libelous content. Given Joyrex's previously known connections with the band, the message is considered by most fans to be an authentic communication from a legitimate representative of the group.
As of January 2014, Boards of Canada has yet to announce the release of a rarities box set.
- Warp Records
- Skam Records
- Matador Records
- Hexagon Sun Collective
- Boards of Canada discography
- Fredd E's Boards of Canada discography; A Few Old Tunes Retrieved on 2007/05/07.
- Fredd E's Boards of Canada discography; Old Tunes Vol. 1 Retrieved on 2007/05/07.
- Fredd E's Boards of Canada discography; Old Tunes Vol. 2 Retrieved on 2007/05/07.
- Old Tunes Saga - bocwiki Retrieved on 2008/04/07.
- boardsofcanada: Closes Volume 2??? - livejournal.com Retrieved on 2007/05/07.
- A Few Old Tunes - bocwiki Retrieved on 2007/05/07.
- An Eagle In Your Mind Video Contest - bocpages - the unofficial boards of canada wiki
- A Few Old Tunes discography by Fredd-E.
- Old Tunes Vol. 1 discography by Fredd-E.
- Old Tunes Vol. 2 discography by Fredd-E.
- A Few Old Tunes at Discogs.com.