It’s safe to say at this point in their career that the Boredoms are the only band of their kind. Having spent nearly two decades evolving and refining and deconstructing their sound, The Boredoms have done pure noise, punk rock, drone-rock, psychedelia, ambient—pretty much any kind of music that can be created from raw emotion and whatever instruments happen to be within their grasp. In a way, you could draw a comparison to Sonic Youth, as they’ve been uncompromising in their ever-evolving sound and approach. Similarly, between proper albums, Sonic Youth has steadily issued several EPs and mini-albums on their SYR imprint, much in the same way that Boredoms have been releasing one-offs under the Super Roots moniker. With Super Roots 9, originally released in 2007 and reissued this year on Thrill Jockey, The Boredoms turn yet another page in their ongoing reconstruction of their own sound.
Recorded during a Christmas Eve live performance in 2004, Super Roots 9 is just one track, the 40-minute long “LIVWE!!” For one track, 40 minutes is a bit long, and one would be forgiven for his hesitance in approaching such a lengthy piece with basically no pauses. Yet it is truly wondrous stuff; these 40 minutes contain some truly intense, yet positive and soaring sounds. As it is a Christmas Eve performance, the track begins with the sounds of sleigh bells, spare and simple, though about three minutes or so into the piece, the rhythmic patterns become louder and more commanding. These rhythmic patterns come to make up an immense structure, with trippy, amorphous synth sounds soaring overhead, and sampled voices zooming in and out. There is a percussive breakdown about 13 minutes in, but that, in turn, is juxtaposed with echoing shouts and soon enough, the synths, the vocals and the zooming drums come to take over once again.
Truly, Super Roots 9 is an exercise in endurance. It’s a lot to take in one sitting, though it is certainly accessible, even downright gorgeous. But even more amazing is how the group was able to perform it. If I feel winded just sitting down and listening to it, God only knows how ready they must have been to collapse once the performance came to a close. The soul and the power that The Boredoms put into this piece shows, and it’s all the more glorious an experience because of it.
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