Track Review: Boris & Michio Kurihara
A quick sidenote: If you haven't noticed already, I added a couple new features to the sidebar. The first is an archive of all the concert photos we've posted thus far, and the second (below "Links") is a list of notable upcoming concerts in Los Angeles, which will be updated every week, if all goes according to plan.
The last year’s been good to Boris. Not only did they release “Pink”, their most accessible and critically well-received album to date, in America but they also had the opportunity to cut an album of gloriously dark sludge metal with Sunn0))). They’ve been working at a breakneck pace and, judging by their new album with Michio Kurihara, they’re not going to let up.
For those of you who’ve gotten a bit sick of Boris’ often high-intensity listens, this album is just what the doctor ordered. Kurihara’s brand of mellow psychedelia not only complements Boris’ style, but builds a whole new world for it: a hazy, dream of a world loaded with nearly as much atmosphere as quiet charm. Even the louder, more aggressive Boris-style tracks benefit from this approach: the songs feel less like you’re being punched in the face and more like you’re trying to do karate underwater.
“Rainbow” is among the slower songs on the album, but easily one of the best. The verses are simple, relying on a static beat, sparing plucks of an electric guitar, and a slinking bass line—I would say, coupled with Wata’s quiet, slithering vocals, that the verses are borderline lounge rock (though it goes without saying that it’d probably be the best lounge rock ever). But then 2:10 happens.
The juxtaposition that occurs over the next minute and a half is incredible. Kurihara takes a guitar solo that is, quite literally, perfect. His guitar tone is incredible: treble-boosted, trembling, and dirty as hell—it would almost sound fragile, if not for the confidence with which every note is attacked. Every note sounds as if it’s barely in Kurihara’s control, making the whole solo a series of suspenseful moments, waiting for the guitar to implode in on itself, to self-destruct.
In placing this bête sauvage of a solo beside Wata’s introspective vocal delivery, its effect is stunning. The first two minutes of the song is equivalent to standing on chaos’ edge, looking inward and reflecting, before plunging into a sea of turmoil and doubt, only to come out the other side a minute and a half later. Its as vibrant as an inward journey can be when communicated through music in another language. That a song in Japanese can hold its own emotionally, even next to songs in English with intimate and understandable lyrics, is incredible, and a perfect example of the astounding affect that can spring when a group like Boris works relentlessly to expand its musical palette.
Boris & Michio Kurihara - Rainbow [mp3]
- Dominick Duhamel -