June 6, 2009

Trattoria various artists – Shock City Shockers Vol. 1 & 2 (2000, 2001)

To wrap up my week-o'-Boredoms reviews, I thought I would address the other aspect of Boredoms releases that I find particularly fascinating: the freak-out collage compilation. As you have probably already figured out, Boredoms members like to make new band names for every little project they do, particularly front-man Yamatsuka EYE, who is also an accomplished, if totally insane, visual collage artist, and has even released his own art books, “Ongaloo” and “OK FRED x Death by Basel. This collage style is more in line with the traditional Japanese noise scene from the '80s on, a world of hand-made cassette releases, weird found-sounds and essentially unlistenable shrieking distortion. Boredoms stood out from this scene by applying the experimental production techniques to actual song-form productions and skilled instrument playing, retaining the chaos and sonic extremity of noise but bridging the gap to avant-garde, post-rock and even ambient experimental music. The first various Bore-related artists compilation was arguably produced by EYE's noisy found-sound Puzzle Punks project on the album “Pipeline” in '95, subtitled “24 Smash Hits by 24 Puzzle Punk Bands”. In actuality, the material was probably all created by EYE and band-mate Shinro Otake, with each track given a different artist's name including MC5 Or 6, Ganja Farmers, Ha Ha Ha, and Wipe Out Shock Shoppers. In '99, the Japanese indie label Trattoria released a compilation entitled “Shock City Shockers” which really blew me away with it's updated, noise-inspired sound, and featured several REAL bands and Boredoms side-projects including Psycho-Baba, OOIOO, Rovo and others. There are also several bands with questionable names such as PP Nights, WeyeW, XOX, and Skyeye, all of which essentially sound like out-takes from “Vision Creation Newsun” sessions and field recordings. The overall vibe is very psychedelic, with some ambient and tribal interludes as well as full-on noise freakouts. The second volume of Shock City Shockers is technically titled as an OOIOO album, as each track is ostensibly a remix of songs from “Green & Gold”, although the sonic result is often unrecognizable from the original versions, including remixes by some of my favorite Japanese electronic musicians, Kiyoshi Izumi and Nobukazu Takemura. More recently, EYE has released his own remix albums which continue this futuristic tribal psych-noise style, and pretty much any of this stuff that you can find for non-collectors-prices is worth hearing! (Bonus tip: look for EYE's mix album under his DJ name, DJ Pika Pika Pika, “Planetary Natural Love Gas Webbin' 199999999”, it is brain-bending! I also realize I completely forgot to mention the most recent Boredoms project, 77 Boa Drum, a massive “drum circle” comprised of 77 drummers playing full drum kits in a huge spiral, outdoors in NYC on 7/7/07. While the concept is fantastic, the actual sonic result did not really thrill me.)