Boredoms concert really is (or at least can be) one of those incredible formative experiences, but unlike sex (which can be explained: messy; sometimes boring), it can’t really be conveyed. In that sense, that’s where Boredoms fans always get pegged by the non-believers: they sound like they’re on drugs or god, which always requires a tedious explanation that never makes sense. In words, can I tell you what it feels like to watch a Japanese man with dreadlocks shake some shiny electronic orbs while bursts of noise, sounding like thunder and rain, rattle your solar plexus? I cannot and will not.
Super Roots 9, recorded on Christmas, 2004, attempts to stuff god into a very expensive import CD, and it can’t. That’s fine and we don’t expect it to. The thing about the Boredoms is that—especially in this recent three-drum-kit; one vocalist/sequencer/keyboard setup—is that it’s an uncontainable thing. After their noisy beginnings, the band’s first genius stroke was Super Roots 7. “7” wasn’t great because it vamped for 20 minutes and only changed chords about three times, it was great because it bred that indefinite, outstretched bliss of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” or Neu! and made it very loud. Krautrock’s suit was infinity; metal’s and punk’s was aggression and immersion; noise, extremity—why not make a song that peaks at two minutes and then smears its climax over another 18?
The band then veered into the gorgeous, drum-circle worship of Vision Creation Newsun, and frontman Eye made a stronger commitment to dance music. Super Roots 9, though, is a testament that the band pretty much never got over the endlessness of that original flash, giving Eye about 40 minutes to pitch a series of choral samples (extracted live) up and down all rungs of glory while Yoshimi, ATR, and Youjir hammer along in unison, occasionally breaking up to play extraordinarily complicated multi-drum fills. Toward the end, it sounds a little more ominous, like that part from Carmina Burana abused for horror movie trailers. That’s pretty much it. Loud loud loud, fast fast fast, gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. The band comes up for air about 13 minutes in for a vicious, stepping reggae rhythm; Eye processes the guts out of the drums and yells a few times, then it’s back to stare at the wall of oohing and ahhing for another 24 minutes.
Super Roots 9 is a good listen, but for those who haven’t bothered to pick up Vision Creation Newsun (even its remix album, Rebore, Vol. 0) or the other releases in the series, particularly the recently reissued 6, 7, and 8, then 9 isn’t worth the price. And it definitely isn’t worth passing up a chance to spring for a ticket to see them live (I would commit misdemeanors to see another Boredoms show). I saw them play this set, sans choir, about six months this was recorded. When Paul McCartney first took acid, he thought he discovered the secret of the universe; he woke up in the morning with a piece of paper that read, “There are seven levels.” Super Roots 9 is my post-acid scrap: there’s something there, but it wasn’t what it was last night. It’s not monotonous; it doesn’t drone in sound so much as it drones in character: just like drugs, maximum undifferentiated bliss sets the bar kind of high—even mind-frying greatness becomes a little routine after a while.