A Is to B as B Is to C – Unveiling the Cryptic Layers of a Cult Classic


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Boards of Canada's A Is to B as B Is to C at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Numeric Prelude: The Counting Game and its Significance
  5. Reversed Revelations: The Inverted Speech and its Echoes
  6. The Pillow’s Secret: Unearthing the Hidden Meanings
  7. Unforgettable Lines: Echos That Resonate beyond the Ephemeral
  8. Unpacking the Prophecies: A Metaphor for the Inevitable?

Lyrics

Forwards
One two three four five
Six seven eight nine ten
Now in Spanish, then in French
We’ll say that twice again

Backwards
We love you all (also forwards)
I’ll be gone about a week
Oh, by the way, I brought brought her pillow
If you go down to the woods today, you’d better not go alone
I don’t know, it makes it?
I still got ’em, I still dream about him
I don’t know, I just wish it had never happened
The whole thing?
The whole
The whole thing goes over and over
So, those prophecies you’ve been describing
And now to business

Full Lyrics

In the intricate tapestry of electronic music, there are tracks that go beyond the aural pleasures and delve deep into our consciousness, intertwining with our very souls. Boards of Canada’s ‘A Is to B as B Is to C’ is one such enigma, a hauntingly beautiful piece that acts as a sonic riddle wrapped in nostalgia, inviting a deeper exploration into its meaning.

The song, absent of traditional structure or melody, executes an audacious form of storytelling through sampled voices and abstract soundscapes. It’s a peculiar odyssey that transcends the conventional boundaries of music, one that Boards of Canada has teased us into deciphering. What lies beneath its layers is a sonic puzzle that has kept listeners entranced and theorizing since its inception.

A Numeric Prelude: The Counting Game and its Significance

The track opens with a simple counting sequence, a childlike recitation that is both grounding and unnerving. This numerical ascent and its repetition in multiple languages suggest a universality, an innate human understanding of order and sequence. It is as if Boards of Canada are nudging us towards the recognition of patterns — not just in music, but in the fabric of life itself. The numbers are a motif, a key to unlocking the subsequent narrative.

Stripping back the layers, one may posit that this counting sequence serves as a metaphor for progression, for the cyclical nature of human experience. It’s a journey from ‘A’ to ‘B’, just as ‘B’ leads to ‘C’, resembling the way in which our actions lead to consequences and new beginnings.

Reversed Revelations: The Inverted Speech and its Echoes

There is something inherently captivating about reversed vocal tracks. In ‘A Is to B as B Is to C’, Boards of Canada deploy this technique to shroud the message in mystery. When deciphered, the phrases seem disjointed, yet evoke a raw, emotional response. It’s as if we’re catching fragments of a conversation, or eavesdropping on whispers from another dimension.

This method of communication prompts us to look beyond the literal and to search for meaning within the implied. The use of reversal perhaps symbolizes the retroactive search for understanding, the human tendency to reflect on the past with a desire to unravel the complexities of life’s journey.

The Pillow’s Secret: Unearthing the Hidden Meanings

Among the scattered phrases, the mention of a pillow stands out as a potent symbol. In the context of the song, it represents comfort, intimacy, and the remnants of presence. The item seemingly trivial, carries with it the weight of memories and unspoken words, hinting at a narrative that is profoundly personal yet astonishingly universal.

The pillow could very well be a proxy for the emotional baggage we carry with us, the personal artifacts laden with meaning and the silent witnesses to our private histories. As listeners, we are privy to these intimate elements but left to fill in the gaps, to create stories within the abstract contours of the track.

Unforgettable Lines: Echos That Resonate beyond the Ephemeral

‘If you go down to the woods today, you’d better not go alone’ — this phrase, influenced by the children’s song ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic’, reverberates with a haunting sense of both familiarity and foreboding. It is as if it serves as a warning or perhaps a reflection on the isolation inherent in human existence. The implicit eeriness of the woods, a recurring theme in folklore, becomes a backdrop against which the song’s cryptic narrative unfolds.

Lines like these are memorable not only for their content but also for their ability to implant themselves in our psyche. Boards of Canada masterfully manipulate these snippets of language, embedding them into the texture of the track to haunt and to challenge, lingering long after the music has stopped.

Unpacking the Prophecies: A Metaphor for the Inevitable?

Finally, the reference to prophecies paints a broader stroke in the thematic canvas of the track. Prophecies, in their essence, depict a foretold sequence of events, often inevitable and out of human control. It’s as if the song is an oracle, a muted voice from the future whispering of consequences born from present actions.

The cyclical repetition of ‘The whole thing goes over and over’ mirrors the relentless progression of time, the inevitability of history repeating itself, and the circular nature of life’s narrative. In this sense, Boards of Canada don’t just deliver a song but rather a philosophical exploration set to the rhythm of the human condition.

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