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Fricke’s Picks: Boredoms

Japanese trance-rock band Boredoms were far fewer in number for their recent in-the-round show at New York’s Terminal 5 — three drummers, an onstage sound processor and shamanistic singer-loops guru Yamantaka Eye — compared to the seventy-seven-member army that played at the group’s outdoor drum-prayer spectacle in Brooklyn last July. But in fighting trim in an enclosed space, Boredoms still made a music as big and bright as a high-noon sky: long, rolling polyrhythms played by what sounded like a trio of Keith Moons, Eye’s volleys of sampled whoop and animal howl, and his furious hammering on the Sevena, a huge vertical wedge of seven guitar necks in various tunings. When he pounded on all of the strings at once, with a javelinlike pole, it was like the Lord hitting power chords: massive bursts of lush, blurred harmonics. Eye did not have the Sevena at the 2004 Christmas Eve concert featured on Boredoms’ latest U.S. release, Super Roots #9 (Thrill Jockey), but something even closer to godliness: a twenty-four-voice choir, electronically manipulated in rhythmic tides of group whisper and full-tilt gothic-church hosanna. The entire record is a single forty-minute piece. But like the best Christmas presents, it keeps on giving.


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