Kikagaku Moyo

TrackAlbum / EP
Silver OwlHouse In The Tall Grass
KodamaForest Of Lost Children
Dripping SunMasana Temples
Can You Imagine Nothing?Kikagaku Moyo
TrilobitesStone Garden EP
Green SugarHouse In The Tall Grass
Shrinks The DayDeep Fried Grandeur EP
KogarashiHouse In The Tall Grass
There Is No Other PlaceMammatus Clouds EP
Smoke And MirrorsForest Of Lost Children

Kikagaku Moyo photo 1

Kikagaku Moyo (clockwise from top left): Go Kurosawa, Daoud Popal, Kotsu Guy, Tomo Katsurada, Ryu Kurosawa (Photo: Alina Kuchma)

 

 

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Kikagaku Moyo playlist

 

 

Contributor: Ann Sequinworld

On the 19th of January 2022, Kikagaku Moyo announced they would go on an indefinite hiatus and that their next record, set to be released in May, would be their last. The band spent the rest of 2022 conducting a farewell world tour.

Kikagaku Moyo (in Japanese Kanji 幾何学模様, transliterated Kikagaku Moyō) translates to ‘geometric patterns’ which the drummer Go Kurosawa suggested as a band name after visions caused by sleep deprivation.

In the summer of 2012 in Tokyo, Go Kurosawa met Tomo Katsurada, the future guitarist. Go and Tomo searched for others to join them, specifically seeking those who didn’t have much experience (like Go and Tomo themselves) but who wanted to play music together. They met their bassist Kotsu Guy who was recording sounds from a vending machine for a drone project. Then Tomo met their second guitarist Daoud Popal in a smoking area at their college. Ryu Kurosawa, Go’s brother, joined the band on sitar after coming back from India. The five free spirits had mixed musical tastes so decided to adopt a psychedelic, meditative style, as a utilitarian approach to playing music together. This style is especially present on the eponymous debut album (2013).

In Japan, music venues have a system of charging bands instead of paying them for live shows. Typically, bands have to pay around £250 (¥41,555) for a 30-35 minute show. To circumvent this, the band started busking on the busy Tokyo streets and were inspired to go abroad. Their first overseas gigs took place in the USA and included a performance at the Levitation festival in Texas in 2014.

Kikagaku Moyo continued to tour throughout 2014 and made their first appearance in the UK that October, selling out several shows. In 2015, the band toured extensively throughout Europe with an appearance at Eindhoven Psych Lab. Members of the band, now based in the Netherlands, also started the record label Guruguru Brain in 2015 to showcase the unique music scene in East Asia.

Their fifth studio album, Kumoyo Island (released this year), will be their last following the band’s decision to call it quits. “We achieved everything we wanted to. We wanted to play psychedelic music festivals and tour the world, which we did. We poured time and energy into not just making music, but creating art, merchandise and a vision for what Kikagaku Moyo is. And we now get to complete our journey on our terms, on the highest note possible,” says Go Kurosawa.

Kikagaku Moyo’s farewell tour included two gigs in London in June 2022 following an 11.30am appearance on the West Holts stage at Glastonbury Festival on the 25th. I hope you enjoy this Top Ten and go on to explore the rest of Kikagaku Moyo’s back catalogue.

 

Kikagaku Moyo poster 1

 

Silver OwlHouse In The Tall Grass (2016)
“This is 70s psychedelia brought into the future, as heavy, distortion-filled guitars combine with the clean lines of the sitar to create a trance-like atmosphere. The harmonies add to the hallucination as we follow the vocals, despite not being able to discern their meaning.”

KodamaForest Of Lost Children (2014)
“The group enlivened their classicist approach to sleepy psychedelic rock with rudimentary folk instrumentation and deep drone structures.”

 

Dripping SunMasana Temples (2018)
“A psych wrecking crew from Japan, their ferocious live reputation has led to a global cult following, prompted by epic jams as lengthy as their hair.”

 

Can You Imagine Nothing?Kikagaku Moyo (2013)
“Most importantly, their music is about freedom of the mind and body and building a bridge between the supernatural and the present, improvisation is a key element to their sound.”

 

TrilobitesStone Garden (2017)
“Their songs can be as light as air or as heavy as earth, many evolve out of intense experiences of engagement with the natural world.”

 

Green SugarHouse In The Tall Grass (2016)
“Enlivening their sound with sitars, percussive drums, theremins, wind instruments and ethereal vocals, the band manages to sound powerfully spacious and lazily serene all at once.”

 

Shrinks The DayDeep Fried Grandeur (2016) – with Ryley Walker
“A unique sense of the psychedelic while still offering the raw and fierce riffs they first attracted fans with.”

KogarashiHouse In The Tall Grass (2016)
“A far-out trip through ancient woodlands and sun-worshipping stone circles across some hefty slices of visionary psych-folk.”

 

There Is No Other PlaceMammatus Clouds (2020)
“Descending through a syrup-thick fog of guitar feedback guided by a distant rhythm section seemingly emitting from the other side of a vast chasm.”

Smoke And MirrorsForest Of Lost Children (2014)
“A hissing comet of a track, its primal stomp barely audible amid fiery crackles and a blow-out-your-speakers low end.”

 

 

The last Kikagaku Moyo album, ‘Kumoyo Island’, was released in May 2022 – try the opening track on side two, Cardboard Pile …

 

 

Kikagaku Moyo perform Ananda Shankar’s Streets of Calcutta in Prague

 

Ann’s videos of Kikagaku Moyo UK gigs:

Lending Room, Leeds, June 2017 (68 mins)

 

Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, June 2019 (16 mins)

 

Brudenell Social Club encore, Leeds, June 2019 (12 mins)

 

The Road to an Imaginary Temple:
How Kikagaku Moyo Became the Most Exciting Psych Band From Asia –
“They’ve created an entire phantasmagoric world. One ruled by an imaginary language, filled with a blooming kaleidoscope of psychedelic rock, prog rock, space rock, krautrock, folk, ambient, lounge music, classical Indian music, and at the same time with a touch of something elusive and deeply Japanese, almost traditionally folklore.” (Comma article 2020)

Kikagaku Moyo official website

Kikagaku Moyo bandcamp

Guruguru Brain independent music label

Guardian interview June 2022

Kikagaku Moyo biography (AllMusic)

Ann loves the psychedelic music of the 80s/90s. In between gigs, she runs her own business, Sequin World and Bead Monster. You can follow her on twitter @ann_sequinworld and other social media sites.

These are Ann’s other posts on this site: Loop, The Heads, Thee Hypnotics, Mudhoney, Wooden Shjips, The Lucid Dream, The BellRays, Moon Duo, The Telescopes, MC5, Leatherface, Tad.

The quotes relating to this top 10 are from reviews at the time of each record’s release, paraphrased here and there and attached to a song. This was a cut-up process and the quote may not originally have been about that particular song but … you know what … it doesn’t matter because it works.

TopperPost #1,031

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