How does one describe Japan’s legendary noise-rock outfit Boredoms? The short answer is that it can’t be done safely without venturing into some pretty complex ground. Composed of unequal parts ambiance, noise rock, minimalism, tribal music, and anything else Yamantaka Eye can get his hands on, Boredoms simply exist as an endless “band” of players and noisemakers.
Super Roots 9 is a decent place to start for those who don’t know where to begin. This recording comes eight years after the last Super Roots EP and fits somewhere in the band’s utterly confusing discography. Explaining Super Roots 9 is a difficult task, as is explaining Boredoms in general. It’s a little like explaining sound without allowing the listener to hear it, as the words will never do it justice.
Comprised of one track and one track only, Super Roots 9 features “LIVWE!!” as a live recording from a 2004 Christmas show. As the 40-minute track unfolded and expanded and contracted and breathed its way through walls of percussion and rhythmic choral singing, I had to keep reminding myself that Eye was doing this live. It is a simply astounding musical experience.
“LIVWE!!” is an ultimately relentless piece of work. Performed live by three drummers, a turntable, three DJs, and a twenty-four piece choir, this is experimental music on an epic scale. Voices shout in the background, cuing the percussion and the ceaseless drummers to new heights of the composition. Once the percussion and tribal drumming begins, it never stops. It is astonishing.
What makes Super Roots 9 a demanding experience is the notion that Boredoms never give up, never slow down, never quit. The drumming is absolutely unrelenting and never gives up ground to the choral arrangement, almost doing battle with the 24-piece choir live on stage in front of a crowd of dazzled onlookers.