Here’s a new gamelan-inspired track from Yoshimi P-we of Boredoms and her band, OOIOO


When she’ s not drumming up a storm in Japanese noise-rock pioneers Boredoms or inspiring Wayne Coyne (Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is named after her), Yoshimi P-we fronts her own percussion-heavy band, OOIOO. Past OOIOO releases have run the gamut from neo-tribal rave-ups to psychedelic post-punk, one album never quite sounding like the next. It looks like they’ll continue to surprise on their first album in four years, Gamel, which takes its inspiration and much of its sonic palette from the classical Javanese instrument called the gamelan.

A massive set of bells, chimes, gongs and tuned percussion, a gamelan requires multiple players and is capable of producing a dense tapestry of sound. (I was lucky enough to attend one of the few colleges in America that had a full gamelan, and hearing the full thing in action, even in the hands of inexperienced players, was pretty amazing.) Instead of faithfully recreating that sound, OOIOO have incorporated elements of the gamelan into a mix of other electronic and acoustic instruments to come up with something that, judging from lead track “Atatawa,” sounds completely new.

Gamel is due out July 1st on Thrill Jockey. It’s available for pre-order here.




For our next TWBITW candidate, we have to go all the way to Japan, which has certainly produced its fair share of weird music over the years: Merzbow, Boris, Yellow Magic Orchestra. (Honestly, though, we even think Puffi AmiYumi is kinda weird…but we’re probably just racist.) But the Boredoms operate on a whole ‘nother plane of weird that even most Japanese bands never quite get to.

Started in the mid-’80s as a punk/no-wave band, the Boredoms featured a frontman named Yamantaka Eye, whose previous band, an industrial group called Hanatarash, had broken up mainly because they were banned from playing nearly every music venue in Japan (Hanatarash’s live shows featured highly dangerous use of power tools and, on at least one occasion, a backhoe). Although their music was considered highly abrasive even in noise-rock and no wave circles, they got the attention of other artists like John Zorn and Sonic Youth and, by the late ’80s, had developed a sizable U.S. following.

In the ’90s, the Boredoms began incorporating more electronic elements into their sound and experimenting with Krautrock, drone and, increasingly, tribal percussion. After an four-year hiatus, the band resurfaced in 2003 under the new name V∞redoms and with a new lineup featuring three drummers. The band’s fascination with percussion culminated in a series of recent concerts called 77 Boadrum and 88 Boadrum. 77 Boadrum took place on July 7, 2007 in New York and featured 77 drummers. 88 Boadrum took place simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles on August 8, 2008 and featured 88 drummer performing an 88-minute composition. (They also did an NYC concert on 9/9/09, but it featured only nine drummers.)

So what does the world’s most drum obsessed Japanese noise-rock band sound like? Here’s a taste from 77 Boadrum.

Drum-tastic, no?


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