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Friday, May 1, 2015

Boris: The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked

BORIS: THE THING WHICH SOLOMON OVERLOOKED (2004)

1) Scene 2; 2) A Bao A Qu; 3) The Dead Angle Which It Continues Showing.

I guess I have to give props to these guys for releasing their most unlistenable records as «limited editions» — this one originally came out as 500 copies of colored vinyl, and probably cost a fortune, so that 500 lucky souls could reach their own personal Nirvana by subjecting themselves to forty minutes of jarring feedback, and everybody else could just happily ignore this artistic statement, left behind in a state of immature unworthiness. Unfortunately, the digital era came along pretty soon and messed up all the clever configuration.

Not being aware of the exact circumstances surrounding the title of the album, I, like everybody else, assume that «Solomon» here refers to King Shlomo (970-931 B.C.), known mostly for his wisdom and his large number of wives and concubines, and that, consequently, the title prompts us to give a thought as to what exactly was that one thing, that one tiny little thing that the King managed to overlook in his only slightly less than infinite, God-given wisdom. More than enough reason here, I guess, to force yourself to sit patiently through the entire forty minutes of the re­cord — I mean, who knows, maybe the answer is waiting right there in the end, and once it's all over, just think about it, you might actually be wiser than Solomon himself. Who wouldn't wil­fully give up a pair of ears to gain access to a secret that may have been unknown to the wisest man on Earth?..

Too bad I have to spoil this for you, but then, every once in a while this blog finds itself obliged to go out on a salvation mission. The title is just one big hoax — there is really nothing but a huge, endless sea of feedback here. The first and last track merely feed you crude, primal sludge, a ten-minute cauldron for starters and a twenty-minute barrel for the main course. Faint hints of a droning melody can still excuse ʽScene 2ʼ, but ʽThe Dead Angleʼ is probably the most extreme thing these guys came out with so far, beating out Absolutego and everything else — basically just one bass note that takes its time to burn up and fizzle out, only to be replaced by the same thing again, and again, and again.

In this context, ʽA Bao A Quʼ (named after one of J. L. Borges' pseudo-mythical creatures) separates the two sludge monsters like a symphonic phoenix — at least there's some development here, as the track moves from high-pitched guitar whine to hellishly overloud, overdriven howls and roars. Even so, the title is pitifully wasted this time around (fortunately, it would be reused later on for something much more distinctly musical).

In short, this one is «not for everybody», and by «everybody» I mean «everybody who is already a Boris admirer». It does get me to wonder, though — what if Boris did not have access to tech­nology, or even electricity, and still wanted to make this kind of «music»? What would they have done? Rubbed on a double bass with a live crocodile? Raped a tiger with a loosely tuned cello? Set the entire town on fire and walked around playing on a deliberately unstrung guitar? Actually, each of these ideas, now that I think of it, seems more exciting and innovative than what we have just heard here, and I hate being cruel to animals. Thumbs down, unless you're a big fan of limited editions on colored vinyl — they can be so cool to show off to friends, just do not forget that you won't have that many friends if you ever decide to play this for them.

1 comment:

  1. At long last George bites his thumb at a Boris record. I was amazed that it hadn't happened already, as, overall, you did not seem particularly impressed with this band. The first two albums I understand giving a middling response to, for the novelty factor; and with "Flood", they finally made a few advancements in their drone sound and created a compelling atmosphere -- worthy of at least a small thumbs up. But these last few albums seemed to just be more of the same, without the freshness of their debut -- outside of a couple of tracks, you found little to talk about, which in my mind would equal a "thumbs down". The only reason not to rate them as such would be a validation of their sheer audacity to continue stagnating -- and that's an attitude you've never taken in your reviews. I guess this was THE straw that broke the camel's back, huh?

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