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Vision Creation Newsun

(Birdman; US: 6 Feb 2001)

For their seventh full-length album, the Boredoms have taken their manic, high-speed, cut-up form of punk rock and smoothed it out, taking that same energy and using it for a head-spinning psychedelic jam. Their current sound is just intense and exhilarating, but more beautiful and more expansive. It’s the sound of creatively crazed musicians building their music up towards the heavens, breaking through every level of atmosphere that greets them on the way.

Vision Creation Newsun consists of nine tracks, but they’re really one hour-plus-long piece of music. They’re mostly instrumental, except for voices occasionally chanting (the album title is the opening track’s chant) in the foreground or whispering mysteriously in the background. Of the five musicians in the Boredoms, three play drums and percussions. This is one key to their current sound; there’s an ever-present strand of up-tempo percussion at the core. Along with bass guitar, the percussion forms the supports for a mix of ambient electronics and blazing free-rock guitar. It’s a blend of the feeling behind free jazz and the instrumentation of rock, but with the presence of both electronic technology and the simple, ancient art of drumming. The old meets the new meets the Boredoms, who put their own stamp of personality on everything.

Everything builds to a sound that is both chaotic and controlled, seemingly formless but always in natural motion. There’s some quiet, acoustic guitar-based stretches, but overall the music is always quickly moving, forward and up. It flies up a few levels of energy and openness even when you think it can’t go any further. When it’s as bewilderingly wild as can be, the music will still smoothly transition even further in that direction, further out of the realm of where music normally goes.

The Boredoms’ sound on Vision Creation Newsun is a mix of rock, funk, ambient sound and drumming styles from around the world that together sounds totally new. There’s musical touchpoints throughout (Hendrix, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Funkadelic, Fela Kuti, the Boredoms’ earlier recordings), but none of these really let on what this is all about. It isn’t “free jazz” or “world music”, it’s beyond those categories. This is other-world music, musicians pushing for a mystical experience . . . and getting there.

Dave Heaton has been writing about music on a regular basis since 1993, first for unofficial college-town newspapers and DIY fanzines and now mostly on the Internet. In 2000, the same year he started writing for PopMatters, he founded the online arts magazine, still around but often in flux. He writes music reviews for the print magazine The Big Takeover. He is a music obsessive through and through. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

Tagged as: boredoms
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