Seiichi Yamamoto: Crown of Fuzzy Groove

Seiichi Yamamoto
Crown of Fuzzy Groove

File under: concert experiences seared into your subconscious. Lollapalooza, 1994. Boredoms founder Yamatsuka Eye leapt a good eight feet into the air, shrieking as if someone had just jammed a firecracker into his sneaker. Jocks with backward baseball caps, and their slack-jawed girlfriends, didn't know what the hell to make of this ragged Technicolor orchestra. Still, they knew Boredoms were post-rock for sure. What the assembled crowd got that day was rock's flaming shards, the fallout.

Since then, Boredoms have rejected their place amid rock's ruin. They've changed from no-wave pranksters into Funkadelic cosmonauts raised on manga comics and hippie drum circles. They've rewritten Stockhausen's tape edits with guitar, bass, drums, and voice: whomp, whiz, whoosh, tape-splice-noise, ka-chunk. They've gone from swindling alt-rock on Reprise's dime to raising the game for the entire Japanoise generation with three epic slabs of space jam: 1998's Super AE, 1999's Vision Creation Newsun, and its remix, 2001's Rebore V.0: Vision Recreation. Rebore goes beyond mere remixing: It's 40 years of studio tricknology warping its parent album like hot wax. A cousin to Terry Riley's all-night flights, the album severs Boredoms from their presupposed need to rock or funk or, well, do anything.

Rechristened Voordoms (minus their guitarist and bass player), the band readies its new album, which is set for release in 2003. Curious about any missing pieces in the meantime? Check guitarist Seiichi Yamamoto's recent solo record, Crown of Fuzzy Groove. From a guy called Yamamotor, this album is decidedly soft sell and soft-shoe--not a distorted riff or noise ejaculation in sight. No octopus drumming, either. Yamamoto peels back layer upon layer of gentle guitar fuzz and cymbal swoosh. Listen closely and you'll find dearly departed Juan Esquivel and his lazily insouciant exotica. Pansonic's blips and bloops beam in from Finnish darkness. Hallucinatory references to Brian Eno's ambient ecologies surface briefly. Everything's still, like crystals in suspension. And then it's over, takeoff to touchdown, without leaving your bed.

So call it trip-hop, if trip-hop is the ambient noises of Yoda's bog world. Or downtempo, if downtempo isn't just wallpaper for the Wallpaper set. Or just call it Boredoms, if you like--it's the only description you can be sure of.

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