Saturday, March 08, 2014

Boom Boom Satellites - Out Loud - 1999

In some ways, Boom Boom Satellites are Japan's answer to The Chemical Brothers. There are a lot of similarities - big heavy thick beats, samples dancing in and out of the foreground, a driving sense of forward motion... but in a lot of ways, BBS are very different. While The Chemical Brothers first album was very much about the sensation of speed, the first Boom Boom Satellites album, "Out Loud," is a bit more varied.

Hailing from Tokyo, Boom Boom Satellites is made up of two people, a guitarist/vocalist and a bassist/DJ. The heavy inclusion of guitar chords steers the band a bit further away from some of their breakbeat contemporaries, but there's also a good amount of scratching intermixed with jazz elements like trumpet and sax. In fact, it's the sort of surrealist jazz blend that pushes BBS further away from people like The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method.

The band builds a very urban sound. Hell, "Batter The Jam No. 3" is built on very physical machine sounds - hammers, pistons, ringing bells. And then the sax comes in. And the live drums definitely add a sense of unpredictability, especially when the drums go crazy like on "Intruder" or on "An Owl," the most heavily jazz of the album.

The best piece on the album, though, is the epic "On The Painted Desert," which just builds and builds and builds. I would love to share the track with you, but apparently Sony Japan is particular about it, and there was never a video for it released here, but I can show you a video of a remix someone did of it. It doesn't capture the same majesty of the original, but it'll give you a feel of some of the elements in it.

The album is available on iTunes, as are a number of their other releases, excluding the recent and excellent "To The Loveless" sadly (although it's been on there before, so maybe it will be again, who the hell knows - international releases and iTunes don't follow the convention of logic...) The most very recent album, "Embrace," is on iTunes, but has an incorrect release date, which would confuse anyone. (It's listed as coming out in 2001, but it was a 2013 release... well failed, iTunes.)

If you just want the highlights, you can always pick up "Over and Over," which is their best-of up until before "To The Loveless" and beyond. You can then decide for yourself if you want to pick up "Embrace" and "To The Loveless," but of course, I think that you should. "Embrace" sees them moving a bit closer to Nine Inch Nails territory, but that's not a bad thing. They have always loved their guitars.

Let me leave you with one last track from "Out Loud" - the first track I'd ever heard of theirs, the single that made them a bit of smash stars, "Push Eject." It's not the full song, but it is from their official channel and should give you enough of a taste to get hooked...

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