Super æ

Released 1998 on Birdman
The Seth Man, November 2002ce
Boredoms revolve in a universe all our own.

Vocalist Yamantaka Eye, guitarist Yamamoto Seiichi, Yoshimi P on drums (and others?) created “Super æ” -- a place where startlingly vital and unfamiliar sampling, digital processing and manipulation combine with stellar groves and sonic overhauls into an uplifting album that continually expands beyond its own boundaries...if it had any.

“Super You” opens the album with sharply-edited electronic treatments that disorient with pitch and speed shifting only to slam right into a sonic barrage best described as MC5’s “Starship” crossed with Magma’s “Köhntarkösz” and the sound of a grounded UFO firing all cylinders at once in an effort to escape capture at the hands of an approaching civilian posse armed with pitchforks baying for green blood. But no matter how much they accelerate there’s no way they’re gonna achieve liftoff without someone getting out to push so they’re just frantically accelerating over and over with blocks of noise as if in fanfare, making the piece build and build...

Enough, already: BEGIN. Please... It’s only three minutes into the album, so what are the odds it’s ever gonna change? They struggle for liftoff with drum rolls, cymbal bashing, organ and bass runs over a blur of highly strummed guitar as though anchored along with the spacecraft’s overtaxed engine room. Overdriven organ notes fly all around this blurring tempest until the quickest flashes of sped up tape noise quickly zip in and out, momentarily interrupting the ceaseless fanfare of noise, cutting through like laser beams, and shrieking into one ear and out the other. The sped up tape then quickly dies in its tracks. Good: maybe...but oh, no: it’s fanfare time again as the overdriven organ notes threaten to dissolve into feedbacking as cymbals get a damn good walloping. Back and forth everything starts crosscutting to hell as the fanfare, the manipulations and the organ notes are all shuffled together with speed and pitch despoiling all. Everything is rendered so unstable that all expectations are sufficiently shattered for the rest of the album. Now can it finally begin NOW? No: the fanfare is STILL going on 5 minutes later. More general abuse to the tape is made and FINALLY IT LIFTS OFF! You’re not glad to see them go, but THAT was a major effort so: Bye! Write soon! Mind the asteroids! And give my regards to Chiron!

But --
The quick space-funk groove that follows with leftover drums, bass and keyboards are so severely clipped and sped up, it almost vanishes on every beat like a whisper of a high speed Morse code transmission hollowed out from the inside. Uh, oh: it’s already vanished as abruptly as it entered and these drop outs, cut ups and overall synthetic treatments will continue throughout the album at rates that exceed the speed of their thrash on their earliest recordings. (And this is just the first track...)

“Super Are” opens with a much-needed sense of peace after the infinite UFO liftoff. Becalmed vocals all rise in praise of the morning sun and soothing, dew-dropping organ notes take their place quietly alongside the choir. Eye chants “aaaahhhh” and then two tribal tom-toms ensue as female and male vocals call and respond to each other singing praise to the sun, existence, creation, the universe and the entire cosmos that is being. Eye intones “In the suuuuunnn...” drawn out until it’s crackling end begins to fuse with the spirit of that great solar orb until it’s flown too close and starts to fry like Icarus -- as recorded by Faust. But wouldn’t you know it: it’s the re-entry of our old friend: Mr. Fanfare-UFO-can’t-lift-off-because-he-just-powers-it- at-full-force-even-though-its-not-gonna-budge-a-fuckin-inch, ever. The guitar growls “Brrrunngg! Brrrunngg!” as the cymbals hiss and the drums burn all over repeats of Eye’s intonations, madly thrashing out as heavy organ quickly filigrees all over the belabouring of drums until the recording level kicks into the next level of endurance. A echoed vocal cuts in frying in the sky and streaking overhead, witnessing the entry of a strum/stun guitar that will continue to build in the next piece, “Super Going.” This is a 12.5 minute test of endurance that begins with a singly downstroked guitar chord that reverberates over the cloud formations of buffeting cymbals. Two chants begin to harmonise as the drums begin a tidy snare and hi-hat latticework in the background. Vocals streak and twitter overhead, mingle and get digitally sampled all around until it fades into a single guitar creating a wash via volume-pedal caresses...Then right back into the more singly struck, near bell-tolling power downstroking of e-guitar. The drumming continues in a furiously thick clatter, the bass is doubling more as a rhythm guitar and the faster it goes the rounder the gets: especially when the phasing kicks in and bevels the rhythmic edges of everything. Synthesizer lines appear hither and thither but nothing can distract the powerdriving from its mission. Not even the ten-foot tall speed bump of a stuttering, skipping CD which causes the track not only to miss a beat but fast-forwards it at an even HIGHER propulsive magnitude as though passing through a sonic wormhole that allows entry to only the highest of energies. It’s the liftoff that has been promised for so long: The guitar is power strumming at top speed while maintaining a harmonic melody, the drums are no stamina itself and flooring down the middle of the sonic highway, as all the while a synth line of distinctly ill windscreen wipering qualities continues to reinforce and power the whole piece into furiously driving transcendence. Well-placed action drum fills power the piece even higher like a cosmic pinwheel and there’s no stopping it because all the instruments have now merged into a single force field. The bass line then switches from its rhythm guitar placement and starts in with a serpentine “Loose” feel while the wah-wah’d guitar is now under so much phasing it’s surfing the crest of a sine wave until the sonic rug is pulled up from underneath everything except for the clattering drum kits and panning synthesizers. A final twittering vocal effect and a final vocal syllable is exclaimed by Eye, and everything just...halts.

”Super Coming” opens with suction-cupped, sticky-crawly synthesizer and an acoustic guitar grooving to “Give Peace A Chance.” After further interruptions, the octopus-like tentacles of the synth return with a group of vocals and buzzsawing guitar fading in and out in waves in tow, crashing in loudly with guttural vocals. Tribal drums stomp out as e-guitar cycling repeats over it and stirs up all its primeval, rotary connections. Then the drums and guitar are peeled away revealing the opening vocals and acoustic guitar have running underneath the mess for the entire time. It folds back and madly continues with the repeated vocal phrasing until it breaks down to just a Troggs-like guitar amid group cheer/ranting, only to calm down to a sole e-guitar quietly picking out a “Season Of The Witch” type riff with bass accompaniment which starts cycling backwards, forwards...then vanishes. “Super Are You” sees Eye drooling all over a 21st Century rockabilly tear up between Zeppelin and Spike Jones. A tremendously exhilarating sampling of a vocal and guitar is held and extended into a stunning sustain until it zaps into nothingness. The track reappears as a low moog-dominated trudge piece. “Super Shine” begins with snatches of electronics, a terminal noise synth note held down too far until it’s lunch break at the cuckoo clock factory on LSD. Electronic notes and bass sketch out a triumphant dawn of a melody, and the next 12 minutes are spent perfecting it by regaling, banging percussion and dancing in a circle around it until exhaustion descends. Its trance is so strong that by the end even the CD peters out into faux-skipping mode, as though dizzy from all the mental hi-jinks and auditory signal overload. ”Super Good” is the delicate closing theme of jingling, icy synth lines plotting the path of falling snowflakes as gentle waves break at the edge of winter and all floats to a peaceful end.