a review of Boredoms' Super AE
In Japan, everything happens above street-level. In 2004, my last gig before leaving Europe was in a hole in the ground in Manchester. A few months later I was playing my first show in Japan on the roof of a building in Osaka.
Every Underground club seems to be ironically located on the second, third, fourth floors and above, while Papa Japan is looking for something for the mistress in bright underground shopping arcades, ready for nuclear winter.
I park my bicycle behind an electric tree, the whole magic of kilowatts happens above your head here. The map on the back of the flyer seems very clear: this is the street. A bunch of hieroglyphs and numbers. Third floor. I look up towards the Tetris style array of signs on the building, restaurants, clubs, cafes, hairdressers, tattoo parlors; the club I'm looking for is called Galaxie 500, their flyer has a picture of a naked badass-looking female drummer on the front, and a shot of Suicide on the back. I get into a stairway and check every floor, every door, every corner, I've obviously got the address wrong.
I move on to the next building, put on Boredoms Super AE on my MP3 CD player. It's a data CD burned from mp3s I downloaded illegally, the legit import version would have cost me as much as the turdy player. It plays regular CDs and Mp3 CDs too, but I use those re-recordable CDs again and again, skipping until they just won't play, and this album starts just like that: "Super You" is a medley of electronic disasters, striking one after
another, until the band decides you're not ready yet for the big one, leaves everything on while starting another show backstage.
I move on to the next flight of superstairs, Galaxie 500's naked drum girl looking more and more sarcastic on the flyer.
"Super Are" starts as an ode to Terry Riley that could have been called "a superainbow in curved AE", fades into supercussions and gibberish chanting, kicks a superstorm, it rises again and again, giving me shivers, I jump the last seven steps on my way down into the street, testing if Converse are good for superbones.
Back in the supermain street, the human flow is fast, but Boredoms are faster, and I probably look suspiciously super, people getting out of my way, where is that fucking club?
"Super going" should be the only reason people call this the land of the rising sun, neon looks so much brighter now, 110V wasn't enough so they got another 110V from Germany, and now everything looks like it's about to explode. my super legs, in complete sync with the phased out picnic breaks and the filtered hundred yard dash marathons, are out on the supertown tonight.
Idiots jump in and out of taxis at breakneck speed, the whole city is screaming pidgin English, Wendy's is serving Shroom burgers, a billion Michael Jacksons do the SuperBilly Jean disco sidewalk at triple-speed, this is getting scary! Shine!
Is this CD a compilation? "Super coming" starts another trip through back alleys, restaurant bins, the river appears, it's Saturday night, packed, acoustic bastards are on the prowl, they're out to get me, I've missed Boredoms, Yamatsuka EYE was playing the same place the week I did my first gig, and they never play anymore, damn, I also missed Amon Duul II, I wasn't born and they never play anymore. This is Super blues, John Lee Hookers everywhere,
looking cold in miniskirts and super hair, Mickey mouse earrings.
Lately there's been talks of cultural appropriation, this now album I call "we've just found the best supershit in the milky way".
Nothing makes sense anymore, I've been around this block five times, and every time I saw signs that weren't there before, there are about three thousand shops on this street alone, all of them sell women, half naked, no drummer though. Fucking CD player, fucked up again, or actually "Super Are You" just started, Super Lounge Metal at it again, teaching the blocked groove to the 90s, and the SuperCD skip too, all brand new dance crazes. My favourite I call "journey through a burning salarymen", you start nodding on the train, your head heavier than a mortgaged Mazda, going back and forth on your seat, everyone waiting for you to fall, but you don't, and guess what? You're asleep!
I got a Super sandwich from the convenience store, I pull my earphones out for a half-minute and this shit is skipping again, or maybe it's "Super Shine" that started, who knows? This is the Japanese-German connection, grandpa lost the war a million years ago, it's now time to get back to the forest and beat sticks around a bonfire of cheap, available goods, the Post-war miracle is that anyone survived. My sandwich has everything, at least seventy different colors, and I'm in a whole different part of town, highly unfamiliar topography, I'm tall enough to peer directly into old people's homes, could this be the mythical zone that briefly existed between the Edo era and the Meiji-Taisho-Showa continuum, an alternate space-time continuum where Japan called the West's bullshit, scored some shrooms, dropped out, and focused on rice, the sea, the sun, magical mountains, and still figured out electricity? I am suddenly nostalgic for a time that never existed, in a land I barely know...
The darkened roads are lined with tiny wooden houses, poles buzzing and rows of plastic water bottles. I pass a tobacco shop, a liquor store, a rice shop, essentials in the night, I smell incense and soy sauce, my Superlegs and I aren't far from home now, stars appear around the corner, finally visible outside the neon glow.
"Super good" is the place, the dream, the festival without the cops, the magical sandwich, the spot where the earthquake gently massages, the superground chillout, about two or three levels above street.
I never found Galaxie 500.