Over the course of their near two-decade-long career, the members of Japanese avant-garde noise rockers the Boredoms have managed to break every conventional song-structure ever put in place. Their Super Roots series has been in progress since 1993, the ninth edition scheduled to be released this year. Vice got the rights to re-release early documents of the band previously only available in Japan or long out-of-print, and the highlights include Super Roots 1 (EP), Super Roots 3 (EP), and Super Roots 5. Each represents a different phase in the band’s outlandish discography, creating a prolific progression into becoming one of the most genuinely original bands of the past two decades.
Super Roots 1, originally released in 1993 with four tracks but expanded here to fourteen tracks in nineteen minutes, is possibly the most accessible of the series. It’s the sound of a band throwing song-structure into a deep hole and acting as if it never existed in the first place — and having a hell of a good time doing it. Super Roots 3 (1994) consists of “Hard Trance Away (Karaoke of the Cosmos),” a thirty-three-and-a-half-minute one-track assault built around a solid swampy distorted guitar-riff, introduced and closed by an infamous Boredoms throat-ripping scream. The track leaves us in a hard trance, as the track name insists; the only variations are within slight drum fills. A true test of a listener’s patience, Super Roots 3 is for those that revel in abrasive walls of sound for unyielding periods of time.
Super Roots 5 (1995) marks the highlight of the Boredoms career up until this period, creating a mesh of the madness they had created from the start. Taking twice the patience and time that Super Roots 3 does, these sixty-four minutes are full of space-age ambient vocal effects, steady crash cymbals that build into a mess of forty minutes of roaring noise. This record will tear through the sweet, virgin eardrums of the unprepared soul who picks this up.
None of these are bona fide classics, but these albums (and the rest of the series) are proof that originality free of pretension exists. As long as the Boredoms keep creating music, there is no reason to fear a lack of creativity.