February 1 2023


Boris’ Atsuo curates a playlist to help listeners better understand the band’s December 2022 release ‘fade’.

One cannot sum up or truly capture the essence of a band like Boris. The Tokyo trio’s catalogue is legendary in its sprawl; the project is known (and internationally admired) for its endless capacity to reinvent and determined stylistic restlessness. Last year alone, Boris’ three albums (W, Heavy Rocks and fade) ranged from dream pop and post-rock to hardcore, sludge metal and drone.

Since forming in 1992, Atsuo, Takeshi and Wata have released more than two dozen studio records, as well as several collaborative albums, live records and EPs. The most recent release, fade, tapped into some of the band’s most celebrated styles: drone and drone metal. Of similar lineage to Boris classics Flood (2000), Feedbacker (2003) and Dronevil (2005), fade is most exhilarating in its sheer might; tectonic music forged by existentially weighty guitars and crushingly rich atmospheres.

Boris’ Selector was curated by Atsuo and leans into the influence of orchestral minimalism on the band’s music. His impressionistic justifications intend to open up listeners to new ways of interpreting both fade and Boris’ wider work. Below he explains further.

“Last year we marked the 30th anniversary of Boris with the release of three albums. The last of these albums is called fade.

Boris use both upper and lower case English for our band name. When it comes to lower-case albums, we ask a simple question: how far can you stray from the rock high road? We embark on an experiment and the album stands as a document of the results. fade was released in lower-case ‘boris’.

We are aware that the content of this album could be called contemporary metal, or have ‘drone metal’ as its subgenre. As far as we’re concerned, we believe that, due to the breadth of this music, this work can be categorised in any way – and that misunderstandings are part of listeners’ experience.

This playlist is not intended to be a guide to listening to the album. On the contrary, we created it in the hope that it will broaden the way you interpret this album. Between sound and music...”


Phil Niblock – “Four Full Flutes” (1990)

A single tone. A sustained simple sound. When music is reduced to such a level, its secrets are disclosed.

What is happening in that moment when music is born? This is a work that allows the listener to witness the moment when music first sprouts, followed by a succession of such moments. By slowing down consciousness as it expects music, you can better listen to the vivid sounds that are being created.

Infinite expressions are born from the interference of simple sounds. The instruments and players are stripped of the act of playing, but there is pure music being created.


Steve Reich – “Violin Phase” (1967)

Most of the music in the world is performed in ensembles and in the horizontal flow of time according to vertical grids such as bars. Here, unlike many such methodologies, the same melody – but with slightly different lengths – is looped, thereby causing melodies to keep emerging as the timing of the pronunciation continues to shift.

If each musician had his or her own perspective and methodology, we would be able to encounter more music hidden in the world.


Alvin Lucier – “Music On a Long Thin Wire” (1980)

Wires, electromagnets and oscillators are strung-up inside a gallery, creating a sound installation which includes the space and the people who visit it. A record of fragments.

The world is connected. The vibrations and waves of the air are music. We are reminded that the universe itself is music. It’s an attempt to see the world as music from a different perspective. There is no intervening musical instrument to be played here.


Philip Glass – “Music In Similar Motion” (1969)

Programming changes into a phrase. Are spells, magic and rules music? Music becomes music when it is named as such.

Genres called ‘minimal music’ and ‘drone music’ are often misunderstood as monotonous, simplistic and repetitive, but in fact they are infinitely changing and could even be classified as ‘anti-repetition’. Imposed genre names and classifications can lead to limits in what can be perceived. There are many things that overflow as they are told.


Merzbow – “Pulse Demon” (1995)

Noise is a well-established musical genre. I always feel that the genre is like a mirror, that it is an act that makes us look at ourselves. This kind of music is inside me.

We have collaborated with Masami Akita [Merzbow] many times both in recordings and on stage. By watching and feeling his musical gaze and behaviour, I have had the experience of taking this kind of music and incorporating it into my own body. Music does not require an understanding of methodology or technique, but rather the ability to expand and share the body and senses by wearing a sound. It is not about understanding but becoming. Music makes this possible.


Consciousness accustomed to convenience continues to overlook the phenomena in front of us. Even the focus or focus of the eye is only directed to a predetermined point. Society mass-produces gaze-less gazes.

As it is, people will never be able to hear all music. That is why music is infinitely open and music is magic itself.

Author: Ed Cunningham

Artist Tags: Boris

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