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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clash Of The Titans
Whenever two legendary alternative acts collaborate, fringe music fans hold their breath in anticipation. There is always a fear that the result will not match up to the weighty expectation, that both parties will embarrass themselves and drag their reputations into the muck.

Boris have a good history with collaborations. The Japanese sludge outfit have...
Published 18 months ago by Crawton Leek

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...right...not so enthusiastic about this one...perhaps...overbaked?
...one track...60 minutes long...to me that was all I needed to hear to think that I was going to listen to an epic track of large qualities...and to an extent that's what I got with two bands that separate from eachother are perfect at making the noise that they make...for a little recap let me briefly explain what kind of music these bands make on their own separate...
Published on 13 Jun 2008 by OMNIGOSS


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clash Of The Titans, 7 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Sun Baked Snow Cave (Audio CD)
Whenever two legendary alternative acts collaborate, fringe music fans hold their breath in anticipation. There is always a fear that the result will not match up to the weighty expectation, that both parties will embarrass themselves and drag their reputations into the muck.

Boris have a good history with collaborations. The Japanese sludge outfit have banked successful get-togethers with Sunn O))) (Altar) and Ian Astbury (Bxi), as well as fellow countryman, electronic noise terrorist Merzbow - their partner for this, perhaps their most striking and successful collaborative work.

Boris typically operate at one of two speeds: hammering, distortion-heavy rock or monolithic drone. For `Sun Baked Snow Cave' they are very much the latter - one hour-long throb of towering guitar, layer upon howling layer of thickening sub-bass forming a tangible mass of sound. The album is bookended by mellower moments - a sweet acoustic melody given a mild electric reprise at the far end of play - whilst the meat of the matter is one enormous sonic tsunami, peaking, breaking, then crashing.

Taken alone, Boris' work would have been the equal of their other drone epics, such as At Last: Feedbacker or Absolutego, but then Merzbow plies his art and elevates the whole into something even greater.

As if in awe of his compatriot's efforts, Merzbow is not his usual raucous self on `Sun Baked Snow Cave'. Keeping his Pulse Demon excesses very much in check, he applies his white noise with a craftsman's ear, crafting subtle washes of crackling electronica that draw out the finer points of the track, and only occasionally allowing a full noise assault to break out - and even then, only for short periods. The effect is, quite appropriately, akin to an icy blizzard, blustering then fading, only to return with fresh gusts.

As drone/noise works go, `Sun Baked Snow Cave' is thoroughly accessible. It makes a perfect stepping stone for anyone new to the genre, as, though it is not as harsh as other albums of this type, it is still a collaboration between Japan's most prominent experts in their respective fields. Though it pulls its punches a little, this album still hits hard. The impact could change you forever.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aural Brilliance, 25 Oct 2005
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This review is from: Sun Baked Snow Cave (Audio CD)
From 2 of Japan's most respected experimental groups comes the third Boris/Merzbow collaberation. By far the best of the three, this is more a fair representation of both bands than the other two (Megatone sounded like a subdued Merzbow with a little bit of guitar from time to time, and the 04092001 EP was just some of Boris's Heavy Rocks songs played live with Merzbow going at it over the top). Ignore the 4 tracks listed here, this isn't even split up into the 4, it's just 1 long piece (just over an hour long). Starting off with some minimalist acoustic strumming (very nice nonetheless) for a few minutes, Merzbow then makes an appearance with some subtle electronics. This gradually builds until the climax is reached - a crushingly heavy guitar rumble - no chords or notes, just a rumble... probably the heaviest rumble ever put to tape. However, still only at about the half way point, the drone takes a back seat to Wata's own brand of soloing and Merzbow's complementary noise. The lingering end is a repeat of the start, but this time electric.

Don't expect something like Heavy Rocks or Pink. This is not heavy rock. It is pure soundscape, and in my opinion this is what Boris have always done best. Merzbow adds his talents nicely - it's nice to hear something that isn't him just blasting away (ala Pulse Demon and many of his other solo albums).

Looking at it purely from a Boris fan's point of view, I actually think this is one of their best, and is certainly one of their most available. Start with Feedbacker (or Flood, if you can get it), but this should be high on the list.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boris & Merzbow, 31 Aug 2006
This review is from: Sun Baked Snow Cave (Audio CD)
I've been intrigued by this for a while and read lots of reviews to whether it's worth getting. Some people say its OK, some people say it's genius, you never really hear any bad reviews about drone. Maybe because the people who know it exists and acknowledge it as a form of music usually really like it and the others who would hate it simply don't know it's there. Imagine a 20min Sunn O))) video on MTV! It would be hilarious!

If anyone isn't familiar with either Boris or Merzbow, then I will enlighten you. They are probably two of the most recognised Japanise musical acts at the moment in the West, both operating on the extreme and experimental fringe of music's boundaries. Boris (the title of a Melvins song) are a three piece heavy rock band who play fast, aggressive, punk and stoner rock inspired songs under the heading `BORIS' (all capitals). They also play under `boris' (all lower case) where they play a more esoteric form of music called `drone'. The drummer usually switches to second guitar for gigs under this guise and they churn out massive walls of sound and ambient textures for the listener's pleasure. I personally prefer this facet of Boris because, believe it or not, I find it to be more interesting than the plain old rock Boris.

Merzbow (Masami Akita to his mother) is the grandfather of the Japanese experimental noise movement. He began in the mid 1980s and has released uncountable albums, CDs, EPs, vinyl, remixes, and whatever. I think this entire catalogue was all put together in a package called the `Merzbox' and retailed at something like $500.

`'What's `noise'?" I hear you ask. Well, noise, is, er...........noise. It's all electronically fucked-with sounds, samples and effects and layered up it just, literally sounds like excrutiating white noise. I honestly don't know how people can listen to it; Merzbow's usual output just sounds like a microphone in a blender to my ears.

However, thank the lord he's toned it down for `Sun Baked Snow Cave', a huge 62 minute collaborative track between the two.

`Sun Baked Snow Cave' is the aural equivalent of a glacier's life cycle. It builds and grows slowly until it hits it's peak and crushes everything in it's path until it finally recedes and disappears. It's takes you on a journey all right.

Bori's past works have been similar; Feedbacker and Flood being two prime examples. They built, crescendoed then collpsed back in on themselves and returned to their original state. If you're familiar with those two then Sun Baked Snow Cave should be right up your street (sans drums). It's one long piece of experimental drone laced with Merzbow's subtle electronics. It all works magically and is one of my favourite things at the moment. I've sat through it twice already.

If Boris' collab with Merzbow is this good I can't wait for the one with Sunn O))).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...right...not so enthusiastic about this one...perhaps...overbaked?, 13 Jun 2008
This review is from: Sun Baked Snow Cave (Audio CD)
...one track...60 minutes long...to me that was all I needed to hear to think that I was going to listen to an epic track of large qualities...and to an extent that's what I got with two bands that separate from eachother are perfect at making the noise that they make...for a little recap let me briefly explain what kind of music these bands make on their own separate grounds for those who don't know...

Merzbow: Lead by the pioneering Akita who started off with simple loop tapes to high tech laptops...he creates sounds of static and white noise...he takes what others would think of as noise pollution and composes it into a deep, thoughtful and provokative journey...where every change in pitch opens up a new wound ready to be licked at by the thorns of Merzbow...either you think of it as beautiful art...or a mess of noise...

Boris: A band that takes ideas from drone and post doom to try and create an experimental sound of their own...maybe the fact that their name resides from a Melvins song givs you a clue of their sound...I'm not as much fans of their work but they definetely have a very nice quirk to them...

...now...to describe this track...I have listened to long epic tracks before...some good...some not so good...and to be honest...this is straight bang in the middle...as I really feel nothing for it...

...it starts off very delicately and softly...with the slight ping of a guitar chord that you'd need a very sensitive ear to hear...it will gradually get louder after a very very very very very very long wait and the static will now begin it's crescendo (again it takes an insanely long time to kick in to it's top power) but the truth is once it all reaches its climax...I really feel nothing for it...it truly does seem that I spent the whole time listening for it to build up...and I understand maybe this is what a snow cave would sound like if I walked around it for an hour...but the very simple truth is...I don't get the message they are getting across...

...all instrumentals used are ridiculously monotoneous and when they finally do create an atmosphere that they have been pitching for a good 40 minutes...it's just not spectacular at all...Sunn O))) manage to create monotoneous drones very well because what they manage to produce is very dark and hypnotic...this merely felt like an underscore to this as there was no climax to their crescendo...it literally just got louder and slightly more polyphonic...

...it's not bad...I'm sure many people will claim that this is a masterpiece and I'd agree with you that this is an outstanding display of artistic atmosphere...but it doesn't make me feel anything at all...when I listen to a long track (especially one over 60 minutes) I expect to feel something epic or it won't grow on me...

...I still listen to this when I attempt to practice meditation to see if it will grow on me...maybe someday it will...until then...I'll keep my harsh noise and post doomy droney music separate...
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Sun Baked Snow Cave
Sun Baked Snow Cave by Boris (Audio CD - 2005)
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