Boredoms | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Boredoms 

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The last time I saw Japan's Boredoms play was in 2003, at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Los Angeles; they'd gone to a three-drummer lineup, and their trance-inducing performance convinced me once and for all that while they may occasionally make great albums (1998's Super Ae comes to mind) they're best experienced live, where you can watch front man Eye lead a real-time pursuit of his free-roaming muse. That said, their newest release, Seadrum/House of Sun (Vice), is at least half great. It's not quite a contemporary document--according to a recent interview with longtime drummer Yoshimi, one of these two roughly 20-minute tracks is two or three years old, while the other is about five. The latter, "House of Sun," is beatless and rather uneventful, but "Seadrum" sounds like what the Boredoms were doing in LA. It was reportedly cut in part on a Japanese beach: they set up their kits on planks in the sand and recorded swirling breakdowns, one after another, till the returning tide broke up the session. (Yoshimi explains that they "submerged a mike in the water to record the sound of the drums under the sea.") The track opens with Yoshimi singing a simple, folkish melody; then the phalanx of drummers begins flailing away. Around the five-minute mark, piano glissandi start rolling in like waves on the shoreline. The drum-kit patterns continue through most of the track--with subtle shifts in emphasis brought out via electronic processing--before morphing into some melodic hand drumming. For this show, one of just five in North America, the band will once again be Eye, Yoshimi, and two accomplices doing their best to give drum circles a good name. Soft Circle opens. Sat 5/21, 10:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $20. All ages.

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