June 3, 2009

Psycho-Baba – On The Roof Of Kedar Lodge (2000, Japan Overseas)

During my time in Japan, a good friend introduced me to many Boredoms side projects, including one that (as I recall) her friend had hand-drawn the intricate cover art for: Psycho-Baba. In this project, Yoshimi, the drummer of Boredoms but also a vocalist and song-writer in her own right with her band OOIOO, is paired with sitar-meister Yoshidadaitiki and fellow Boredoms drummer ATR on tablas and processed drumkit. The result is an incredible Indian raga-inspired experimental sound, with Yoshimi providing echoing vocals processed live through her Kaoss Pad and live drumming alongside traditional Indian rhythms and instrumentation. Occasionally futuristic digital FX play a role in the mix, providing a strong hallucinatory vibe such as on the aptly-titled “After Bong, Then Sleep”, but much of the music has a timeless, organic feel. Some familiar Boredoms experimentalism and tribal drumming make appearances, and the music is definitely on the noisier end of things, although with a dream-like feel and occasional interludes of droning ambience. This is thankfully one of Boredoms' side-projects that can be acquired in the US, as it is distributed by Japan Overseas and still in stock. Psycho-Baba released several live concert EPs in Japan as the phoentically-spelled Saicobab, which go off in more abstract, ambient directions, centered around beautiful, heavy sitar drones and vocal improvisation. Yoshimi has often reminded me of a Japanese Bjork, in the sense of being a multi-talented instrumentalist and vocal performer with a wild, free-form style. “Kedar Lodge” is a truly unique album and a masterpiece of Japanese/Indian psychedelic music.