Saicobab turn meditative ragas into nonsense noise gargles | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Saicobab turn meditative ragas into nonsense noise gargles

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With her band Saicobab, semilegendary Japanese noise weirdo YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO) has taken a sharp left turn in a career of sharp left turns. The group, which also includes Yoshida Daikiti on sitar, Akita Goldman on bass, and Motoyuki Hamamoto on percussion and gamelan, perform deconstructive surgery on Indian music, revealing (or forcing) a connection with Japanese classical traditions. On their 2017 debut, Sab Se Purani Bab (Thrill Jockey), the result is something like noise-punk raga or “The Boredoms Do Bollywood”: fractured bursts of South Asian melodies sped up and interspersed with YoshimiO shrieking, hissing, and yipping. "Awawa" starts with YoshimiO yodeling in a bizarre imitation of Daikiti's sitar; electronic effects drop in partway through, over a repetitive series of notes—as if the song has glitched and transformed YoshimiO into a robot cricket. "Bx Ax Bx" has a bizarre pop hook woven into its herking and jerking; when the band shout a chorus of "B! A! B!" before entering a mind-expanding psychedelic section, they sound like an alternate-dimension funhouse Beatles led by George and Yoko. Even by the open-ended standards of experimental music, Saicobab are unique and uncategorizable. It’s rare to find music so transcendently preposterous and so preposterously transcendent.   v

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