June 4, 2009

OOIOO – Gold & Green (2000, Trattoria)

Another fantastic Boredoms side-project, OOIOO is composed of four Japanese female musicians, led by vocalist/guitarist/drummer/something-else-probably Yoshimi P-We. The sound is sort of like Boredoms doing more pop-oriented, song-form tracks, but making full use of their array of FX, strange instrumentation and unexpected sonic territory, with Yoshimi on soaring vocals. The vibe is playful and experimental, yet technically masterful and well-composed. When I got a chance to see OOIOO perform live in Japan, opening for Sonic Youth in '01, I was particularly blown away by the bands ability to perfectly reproduce their material from the album in live form. At one point, Yoshimi apparently detected some sloppy playing in the arrangement, and actually STOPPED the song and had everyone start over again, which only accentuated how technically flawless the performance actually was. “Gold & Green” is an album by a band at the top of their game, and while there have been several OOIOO albums since that take the sound forward, perhaps because I have such a strong feeling from their concert, this has remained my favorite. The songs are catchy and full of hooks, as well as many variations and rhythmic change-ups to really make your head spin. Although it took a long time, the album was finally released domestically in the US in '05 on Thrill Jockey, and in fact can now be purchased in MP3 form for a mere $10. If you want to get into Boredoms, but prefer something a bit less noisy, OOIOO is a perfect introduction to this fantastic Japanese psychedelic sound.