Release Date: Oct 5, 2018
Record label: Guruguru Brain
After building a solid backlog of unpredictable records that flowed through jazz, psych, prog, and space rock territory like cosmic drifters, Japanese combo Kikagaku Moyo settle down a little bit on 2018's Masana Temples, and come up with their most unified and cohesive record yet. The band worked with an outside producer for the first time, journeying to Lisbon to work with jazz guitarist Bruno Pernadas. He and the band tone down their stylistics excesses in favor of a more streamlined approach featuring a tightly wound rhythm section, more concise songwriting, and a clean and direct production style.
Psychedelic rock will always be subconsciously linked to the '60s and '70s, but for Tokyo's Kikagaku Moyo (which means "geometric patterns" in Japanese), the spirit of the style is very much a new form. At the heart of their fourth studio album, Masana Temples, is a mix of diverse rhythms and influences, including Krautrock, classical Indian music, jazz, lounge, and folk. An impossible band to categorize, the word "psychedelic" only goes so far.
At their killer live shows, Kikagaku Moyo come across as eclectic but faithful guardians of fuzzy, spacey, meat and potatoes psych rock. On records it's hard to tell which version of Kikagaku Moyo will show up. You might get the drone lords of Mammatus Clouds, the pastoralists of House in the Tall Grass, or the bleary-eyed cosmonauts of Stone Gardens, all of which, along with their surprising new guise as purveyors of motorik-driven exotica, show up on their newest release, the highly listenable, if scattered, Masana Temples.