BOREDOMS is a band that although having been around the best part of three decades has so far completely escaped my attention! Over the piece, their sound has developed from ‘performance noise’ to krautrock inspired interpretation of space rock as evidenced on their magnificent 1999 album, ‘Vision Creation Newsun’ – see below. They are currently signed to the excellent THRILL JOCKEY label in the States, from whom the following history is reproduced.
There may be no other band in the world that has traced a path quite like Japan’s Boredoms. Across nearly 20 years, founder and leader Eye Yamataka, along with frequent collaborator Yoshimi, has taken the band on a cosmic road trip, from the early swamps of chaos through times of tribal frenzy, oceanic tranquility, and massive sonic constructions. Perhaps most remarkable is the unceasing commitment to vision above all else, and the effects of that commitment. The influence of Boredoms in underground, experimental, noise, and performance-based music cannot be overstated.
The early Boredoms seemingly harnessed that chaotic energy and began melding it into a No Wave-influenced rock format. The first release under the name Boredoms appeared in 1986. The frenetic, maniacal live show cemented their reputation. The incredible rhythmic power, clever melodic punches, and sheer chaotic intensity allowed the band to play off each other in ways that had perhaps never been heard or seen before. The result was both well-earned rising popularity and something unheard of: a major label deal, in Japan, for an incorrigibly independent band that demanded full control. Outside Japan, Boredoms have made their mark as well. From their associations with bands like Sonic Youth to their explosive tours through the U.S. and Europe, Boredoms were partially responsible for opening the eyes of listeners in this country to the possibilities of the Japanese music scene.
After the release of Chocolate Synthesizer, the Boredoms began to evolve away from the chaos-rock of their past. 1998’s Super Ae evoked tribal rhythms as well as electronicized krautrock – a trance-inducing set of songs filled with tribal elements. In their Super Roots series of records (1993-1999), Boredoms expanded their ideal of ecstatic, thunderous, repetitive music, steeped in power rock, electronic rhythms, and psychedelic incantations. At the time, Eye also became more involved in DJing and dabbling in Japan’s rave culture, resulting in the Rebore series of Boredoms remix EPs. After a prolonged absence, their record Seadrum/House of Sun was finally released in 2005. In 2007, they released their first live album Super Roots 9 (released on Thrill Jockey in the U.S. in 2008) and made an already legendary Boa Drum show with 77 drummers become reality. 2008 saw the continuation of the series with two simultaneous 88 Boa Drum shows taking place in both New York and Los Angeles. A series of Boa Drum 9 shows throughout 2009 were also hailed as some of the best performances of the festivals where these unique events took place.
After nearly two decades of noise, chaos, tribal experimentation, remixing, trans-inducing feats of rhythmic intensity, lineup changes, continued collaborations, and doing what they want regardless of trends and fashion, Boredoms continue, and remain as vital as ever.