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Boredoms - Super Roots 9

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Artist: Boredoms

Album: Super Roots 9

Label: Commmons

Review date: Jun. 8, 2007

Remember the first time you heard Boredoms? I can’t forget, even if I wanted to. It was sometime in the mid-’90s, and I was wandering my adopted hometown under the effects of LSD. The drug had largely lost its charm for me, so I thank Boredoms for making that trip (one of my last) more tolerable. In subsequent, hallucinogen-free years, I kept abreast of the band’s doings, but stopped paying close attention after its shimmering 1998 classic, Super Ae. I’d occasionally hear weird little things about leader Yamataka Eye, but there wasn’t a lot to hang your hat on.

Now Boredoms (or V∞redoms, or whatever the fuck they call themselves) are back with a three-percussionist attack, a handful of Vice re-issues and the odd live show. They aren’t as heavy or spastic as they once were, but that’s OK – I’m not as high.

The band’s latest, Super Roots 9, was recorded live in 2004. The first SR EP since the millennium, it captures the band in its drum-heavy incarnation, with Eye working orchestral vocal samples while presumably jumping around a lot. Like the group’s most recent full length, Seadrum/House of Sun, it’s a propulsive take on radiant psychedelia. Pink Floyd may have set the controls for the heart of the sun, but Boredoms pierce the solar surface.

The disc consists of one track, called “LIVWE!” It opens with a celestial chorus and twinkling bells. The crowd begins to cheer as the percussionists (including longtime member Yoshimi) make their presence known with cymbal washes and kettledrum thuds. Before long, well-plotted rhythms come together in a full-on tribal workout, over which Eye twists vocal samples into sonic Colorforms. The sound is at times seasick, but also strangely soothing, like a Tilt-A-Whirl refitted with La-Z-Boy recliners.

The “song” certainly goes on for a while – 40 minutes, to be exact. I had some dishes to do, so I multitasked while listening. The clatter of pots and pans did little to detract from Boredoms’ radiant rumpus, and at one point I found myself in a profoundly meditative state. It was like househusband nirvana. Unfortunately the water went cold well before the album was over, and I didn’t feel like vacuuming.

If you’ve ever lain in the sun for a full afternoon before heading back inside, you’ll know how it feels when Super Roots 9 comes to its luminous close. It’s great while you’re out there, but overall, the experience is draining. And there’s no sunblock for the mind.

I’m glad to know that Eye and associates are still flying the Apollonian skies, but next time I might cash in my miles for some magazine subscriptions. Maybe I’ll even get Vice.

By Casey Rae-Hunter

Other Reviews of Boredoms

Seadrum / House of Sun

77 Boa Drum

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View all articles by Casey Rae-Hunter

Find out more about Commmons

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