Wednesday, March 3, 1999

Excitement, They Wrote

Posted By on Wed, Mar 3, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Once content to abuse the meaning of any obscenity or musical system that was handed to them, Japan’s Boredoms have now entered a new realm of mesmerizing minimalist intensity. With the hyperkinetic Yamatake Eye as their guru, the Boredoms leave their spazz-core roots behind on this record. Previous records were dominated by dozens of wild cartoon turns right out of Carl Stalling or John Zorn. By contrast, Super ae has seven stretched-out tunes of time-distorting mantric repetition, mixing epic rock riffs, out-of-nowhere tape manipulations, hypnotic drones and plenty of electronic stereo action. The epic "Super Going" stands as a two-chord titan whose "super roots" point more to early Stereolab than early Boredoms. It’s a transcendental masterpiece that attaches the Krautrockingest motorik rhythm to the energy of a runaway train. Hearing this song on disc is pure exhilaration – it must be positively pulverizing live.

There’s still plenty of absurdism in the unpredictable style that the Boredoms pull off so well. Monoliths of noisy guitar sound, crazy studio knob-tweaking and synth-foolery set up some of their framework. But the Boredoms pull out all kinds of surprises from left field, including a Terry Riley-style mystic organ drone that leads off a bit of call-and-response chanting. Then there’s a tribal hoedown that sounds like a gang of possessed bikers worshipping the sun very loudly. For the most part leaving the crazy-ass noise scene behind, these Technicolor instrument users and abusers now have a mystic aura that shines somewhere between the earliest, most primitive Stooges and Moog-laden proto-electronica, between dub with all of the reggae dubbed out and the fabled noise avatars of the Elliot-Grasmere Tribe, who made the legendary Cro-Magnon LP for ESP.

Constantly growing, never afraid to experiment and never ceasing to amaze, the Boredoms are one of the oddest and most brilliant music outfits on the face of the planet. Super ae is just the latest answer to the question, "How can the Boredoms top themselves?"

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