Monday, January 25, 2010

Boris-Japanese Heavy Rock Hits Volumes 1-3

Japanese Heavy Rock Hits Volumes 1-3

Leave it to Boris to release new material that a.)only appears on three different 7 inch vinyl records and b.)shakes things up beyond the boundaries that this heavy Japanese experimental madhouse-of-a-band have reached before. I always preface my Boris recommendations with the advice that you can never judge a book by its cover, especially in the case of the highly unpredictable and eclectic trio of musicians. Boris is not for everyone, but those of us who find something that we love in their music are certainly not alone, as they are one of the most respected and esteemed band on the Southern Lord roster and in all of heavy music for that matter.
Despite the fact that a great deal of their following yearn for a return to their Amplifier Worship days, Boris seems to be focusing their attention elsewhere at the moment, spending more time in the dance clubs rather than the dark, echo and drone chambers. Each 7" has its own personality, the first being a bit more Smile-esque, the second embracing electronica and dance music, and Volume Three leaning in the direction of slower, more atmospheric music. Highlights for me include "8" (volume one, side A) and "and hear nothing" (volume three, side B), both of which being a bit more to form for the band itself and in a similar vein in which they left us at the end of their last record.
As "8" begins, the traditional Boris guitar drone opens the track and is suddenly interrupted by sporadic drums fills, picking up the tempo and setting up the driving beat that propels the song from start to finish. The song is much faster that a lot of Boris material to date and has some very dreamy vocals, similar to a great deal of Takeshi's vocal delivery on Smile including tracks like "My Neighbor Satan." Wata's guitar lead lines are shrill and placed high in the mix, piercing through the thick fuzz tones and bashing percussion set up in the rhythm section. This is a piece of music that gives a nod to where Boris left off on Smile and where they are going in the very near future, though we can never be too certain when it comes to these guys and gal.
Much like "8", "and hear nothing" begins with a slow, drone that has become one of Boris's signature calling cards. This slow, heavy feel remains constant throughout the entirety of the song and matches up perfectly with the dragging tempo of the piece. Takeshi's voice is strong and clean, blending well with the layers of guitar fuzz and percussive accents that make up the majority of the music within. "and hear nothing" could easily have been included on some of the earlier Boris material and collaboration efforts, especially with someone like Michio Kurihara. Much like beginning with "8", finishing things up with this song serves as the perfect bookend to this new collection of material. -Andrew Bryant

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