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Friday, May 15, 2015

Boris: Soundtrack From Film Mabuta-no Ura


1) Theme; 2) The Middle Of The Stairs; 3) A Bao A Qu; 4) The Slow Ripple Of A Puddle; 5) Your Name; 6) White Warmth; 7) Melting Guitar; 8) Yesterday Morning; 9) Amber Bazaar; 10) Smoke Sequence; 11) Space Behind Me, Part 2; 12) The Picture Of The Wind; 13) It Touches.

«Imaginary film», the title should read, because no film with the title of Mabuta-no Ura («Under the Eyelids») actually exists — Boris simply stated that they imagined this film in their minds, and then wrote the soundtrack to their imagination. Now — if that ain't art, then what is? How much more artistic, spiritual, transcendental does one get than writing music to accompany visuals that appear under your eyelids, triggered by the mystical force of imagination?

But there's some bad news, too. As awesome as the mystical force of imagination really is, the sobering reality is that most of the time, the force makes you imagine all sorts of random crap (I bet you can agree with me on that one). Consequently, once you try writing music to imagined random crap, you are quite likely to end up consciously writing crappy music to accompany the subconscious results of your imagination. And since Boris have no songwriting talents whatso­ever (there, I've said it), and their main appeal lies in their «tones» and «minimalistic attitude», it is only logical that the final result is an absolutely pointless bore.

«At least the tracks are short this time», you could say, and you'd be wrong, because with long tracks, the band at least has a point — debatable, but a point nonetheless. These short bits, though, are simply meaningless. With ʽThemeʼ, you think you could possibly expect a «theme», but what you really get is a two-minute long droning alarm call in a tunnel, or so it seems. Impressionistic? Symbolic? Psychedelic? Whatever. ʽThe Middle Of The Stairsʼ follows it up with two minutes of slow acoustic/electric strumming where we are probably supposed to luxuriate in the combining humming overtones of the two instruments — hey, if you thought you knew how to appreciate the guitar sound before hearing Boris, hear Boris and think again.

Following up on that, the soundtrack gets more and more diverse, but that is exactly the most ter­rifying thing about that: no matter what they do, it all sounds derivative, meaningless, and dull. ʽThe Slow Ripple Of A Puddleʼ — yes, about as exciting to listen to as the slow ripple of a puddle, and I cannot even defend it on the grounds of «minimalist philosophy», because the little guitar loop that they use here has no deep emotional power of its own to warrant becoming the focus of the track. ʽYour Nameʼ features the band playing a rudimentary hard blues tune: three and a half minutes of what sounds like a 12-year old Neil Young practicing his first scales. ʽMel­ting Guitarʼ — okay, with a title like that you'd expect a massive sludge metal eruption or some­thing, instead, it is simply a little more meandering free-form droning, sort of like what you get in the mid-section of King Crimson's ʽMoonchildʼ, only much more aimless.

Anyway, to cut a long unnecessary story mercifully short, the only track here that merits the slightest consideration is ʽIt Touchesʼ. Closing out the album, it runs longer than the rest and has a rather cool, even hypnotic, bass/drums groove, against which all of Wata's little guitar tricks may be perceived as colorful flourishes rather than just pointless doodling. Nothing particularly great, that is, but pretty much a musical masterpiece compared to all the other small bits. Then again, the best solution is to cut the bullshit and simply ignore the album altogether. Total thumbs down — I'm so desperate, I'd rather even have me some John Frusciante than this.


  1. Somehow negative reviews seem more satisfying to read than positive ones; reading someone spew proverbial vitriol is all the more exciting than proverbial sugar.

    By the way, is it safe to assume that Boris will get one of the "black sad/mad faces" on the HTML version of the site accessible through your old site?

    1. Please, "anti-smileys" is the term.

    2. Eh, George will probably view them the same as Animal Collective and Boards of Canada, over hyped but not so egregiously to the point of Bon Iver.

      I can't wait to see his reaction to the New album, he's bound to be in for a shocker with THAT one