Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Boredoms
Seadrum / House of Sun


Released 2004 on Warner Music Japan
Reviewed by Lugia, 16/05/2018ce


The Autumnal Equinox of 2005 found me standing on a sidewalk near the Tobu Plaza in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan, with a set of binaural mics and a MiniDisc, cutting field audio of the district's fall matsuri. Cut forward about nine years, when I was finally able to track down a copy of this. I jammed it into the in-dash in the car annnnnnnd...

Ha! Back to Ikebukuro!

This not-exactly-an-album by Eye and Co. is an amazing thing, really. More akin to a 'maxi-single', it consists of the two pieces you see in the title. Both different...and yet so much alike. In each case, Boredoms goes for this amazing, transcendant rush of SOUND. The only thing that changes is the character of that sound, but the end-result for the listener is the same, really: awe...pure awe.

The first one, as I mentioned, has that huge...FEEL...of the sounds on that autumn night in Tokyo. The drumming. The echoes and reverberations of thousands-years-old rhythms ricocheting off of the modern concrete, steel, and glass as the shrines of the local Shinto kami are hoisted up and carried/bounced/jostled about the streets by teams of shrine-bearers. The celebratory racket; noise for the Gods, so they too may be joyful. The washes of percussive reverberation and the sung-chant voices, starting off very low-key at the beginning, no warning of the torrent of sound to follow. But then, this amazing...piano...enters. Not mere tinkly stuff, either, but cascades of McCoy Tyner meets Martin Denny meets Sun Ra on pure crystal crank! It's intense, almost too much...but like the drumming and parading on that night in Tokyo, it washes over you and carries you along, helpless yet gleefully safe. Finally, the ride slows as the piano takes over, softly, gently, letting you back down onto the Ikebukuro sidewalk from 10,000 feet.

Then, "House of Sun"...again, waves, washes of sound...but in endless faceted layers of droning sitar, guitar corruscations, like every single recording of Manuel Gottsching being played all at once with no regard for how the mix should work because...well, why the hell not! It's a labyrinth in Fmaj, for all intents and purposes; the minute you latch onto one line, another drags you off elsewhere, and slides you past endless ribbons of drone and buzz and not-patterns and on and on! This, folks, is what drugs themselves should sound like. And do!

There is no 'there' in the there that is "House of Sun". It's as if you were in all of the places that are implied by that anchoring Fmaj all at once, a satori of Fmaj that unfolds forever like some astonishing, blurry weather pattern. No forward progress at all...stasis. Droning, swirling, noodling stasis.

I've known for years that one can never be 100% prepared for whatever Mr. Y has up his samu-e sleeve. "Seadrum / House of Sun" reaffirms this. Amazing stuff, but given the obvious and powerful connection of this music to the infinite myriads of kami that are a part of everything in the Japanese cosmos, not a casual listen to say the least. But a must-listen, nevertheless!


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