August 01, 2005

Boredoms "Seadrum/House of Sun"

For nearly a decade, Yamatsuka Eye's project Boredoms tested, redefined, and utterly destroyed the boundaries of experimental music and noise rock. Though their once-prolific output has now reduced to a mere trickle. Seadrum/House of Sun, their first new record in six years, finds that the on-again/off-again status hasn't dampened the Boredoms' innovative nature, nor has artist growth been hampered. Though stripped down to a duo, the fullness of the two epic songs found here would lead you to think that Eye had gathered an orchestra of musicians.

The first portion of the album, "Seadrum," is the result of an ongoing recording experiment. Eye would set up a drum kit at the edge of the sea and would record the sound of the water crashing against the drums. That this project occured over the course of three years indicates a strong commitment to his vision. The song starts off with Yoshimi singing a blues-style number, sounding not unlike Nina Simone. It's very beautiful, but after a minute and a half, it gets even better, for the rumbling, frantic percussion breaks the tranquility, and for the next twenty three minutes, it's a beautiful, loud tribal drone of percussion, vocals, guitars and piano. The combination of these sounds replicates the sound of water crashing on the beach, and it's an imitation that's both instantly recognizable and amazingly accurate.

The second song, "House of Sun," is the opposite of the first. Whereas the previous track is loud, fast and beautiful in its reckless abandon, this song is peaceful, quiet and beautiful for its tranquility. "House of Sun" consists of nothing more than a simple duet between guitar and sitar. Eye weaves the two instruments together in such a way that, by song's end, makes the two instruments sound like the same thing. The song is unhurried and unassuming; an epic bliss-out that's clearly one of Eye's greatest compositions, and while it might not be particularly different than anything done by Acid Mothers Temple, to think a song as utterly breathtaking like this came from a band known for noise like Boredoms' makes the song's beauty even more savory.

If, as some suggest, Boredoms' day is coming to a close, then Seadrum/House of Sun is a beautiful--and powerful--farewell. If it indeed is not one of their farewell releases, then it's a welcome return to form and the clear hint that as The Boredoms nears its second decade, they have yet to peak creatively. Whatever their future may entail, it cannot be denied that Seadrum/House of Sun is one of Boredoms' greatest releases.

--Joseph Kyle

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