Sunday, July 18, 2010

Album of the Week: Boredoms - Super Roots 7

I'm surprised I haven't made a post about Boredoms on this blog yet as they're one of my favourite bands. They were formed in the late 80's by former Hanatarash front-man Yamataka Eye, one of the strangest individuals of the decade's Japanese noise scene, which, considering what that scene was like, is saying something.

The group's first few releases were a bizarre mixture of noise and punk-rock, creating a musical experience that confused the hell out of people the world over. However, in the mid to late 90's Boredoms underwent quite a stark shift in musical style, releasing Super ae (blogger won't let me do the cool conjoined letter thing) and Vision Creation Newsun, albums that fused their earlier electronic/noise work with percussion driven Krautrock. The result was nothing short of spectacular, with Vision Creation Newsun in particular sitting as one of my all-time favourites. How this change from noise-punk to psychadelic Krautrock occured can only be explained via the Super Roots EP series (which, at the time of posting is up to 10 releases), which track the bands transformations much more coherently than their full-lengths. That being said, Super Roots 7's release date sits firmly in-between Super and Vision Creation Newsun, so most of the dramatic changes had already taken place.

A minor criticism I have with Boredoms' major releases is that they all seem to go for a little too long, usually clocking around the 70 minute mark. This is a little too much time to be listening to anti-songs as was the case for early Boredoms and can be a little bit much for their later works, unless you're really into it, as repetition is a key part of their music. Super Roots 7 doesn't suffer from this problem as its run time is a slim 33 minutes. So what this means is that you get all the goodness from Super ae and Vision Creation Newsun, but condensed into one easy to swallow package. It really is a fantastic release.

So, does this mean that Super Roots 7 is my favourite Boredoms album? Well, not quite; but keep in mind that not very many albums exist that I would call greater than Vision Creation Newsun. However, if you're new to Boredoms, particularly later-era Boredoms, this is an excellent introductory piece and a worthy edition to anyone's collection.

Runner Up AotW: Natural Snow Buildings - Dance of the Moon and the Sun.

It seems quite unfair to dedicate 4 paragraphs to a 33 minute EP and only mention a 160 minute epic, so allow me to provide a very brief summary of this album. Dance of the Moon and the Sun features an array of short acoustic/folk songs with 10+ minute drone/ambient tracks. It all sounds rather sporadic, but believe me when I say the transition between the two never seem strange. Try not to let the mammoth run-time put you off this, it's a masterful achievement and well worth looking into.

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