By: Dennis Cook
Arriving to the soft tinkle of bells and what sounds like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the latest installment of the ongoing Super Roots series from Japan's utterly fearless, utterly unclassifiable Boredoms is possibly their loveliest, most healing audio missive yet. Where many past volumes in the series have gleefully used chaos and dissonance to break down apathy in listeners, Super Roots 9 (Thrill Jockey) is a arms-wide run across Elysian Fields, Carl Orff composing for Mr. Spock and Buddy Rich, a new soundtrack to the 2001 space baby birth sequence, a bohemian Handel's Messiah given a bubbling percussive shake and a razor sharp new hairdo.
Any attempt to box in the sound of this live EP, captured Christmas Eve of 2004, is a disservice to Yamatsuka Eye, the tempestuous and staggeringly brilliant frontman/mastermind of the Boredoms, and his myriad collaborators. This outing is harnessed to walls of relentless percussion, a magisterial 20-person choir and a yearning character one could well associate with visiting the Vatican in Rome, the Western Wall in Jerusalem or any other monumental spiritual landmark that sparks an ecstatic, emotional response. The hands of Super Roots 9 reach skyward, grasping at celestial threads and tugging the soul to rise, rise, rise. To witness this in person must have been unbelievable. Close your eyes and you can almost see the standing penitents, the whirling dervishes and quivering faithful assembled around the large ensemble.
Originally released only in Japan in 2007, we have the good folks at Thrill Jockey Records to thank for bringing this one Stateside, and with any luck we'll see reissues of earlier installments in this exciting series before too long. In the meantime, the Boredoms have given us a portable church to uplift us wherever we may roam.
JamBase | Japan
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