Posts Tagged ‘Tokyo’

Dhidalah

Back in 2017 Tokyo power trio Dhidalah signed up with GuruGuru Brain and cut a crusher of an EP. Two sides, one song per side and each one a heavy amalgam of space rock and psych with some German Progressive overtones. It was a perfect little pocket universe that dangled the promise of more to come. The band and label seemed a perfect fit and it lit the fuse of expectation. Two years later, seemingly out of thin air the band touches down their debut LP with a whiff of ozone and engine oil. The record, like that EP is packed with lengthy cuts, fleshing this out to four heatseekers, besting the EP’s pervious two side-long kickers. The feelings remain the same from those early days with the air around the record is dense and acrid, swirling with noxious gases like something out of a mockup from ‘70s sci-fi pulp covers. The band eases into the scene with the cosmic creep of “Neuer Typ” before kicking the afterburners into high through the scorch-skidded “Adamski.”

They toggle back and forth between the creosote char of amplifier fry and the Zen of sensory deprivation hallucinations. While the heady excursions into the ether bring solace, their sunburn blasts are lethal and might just take the edge for the band’s more welcome face forward. Sons of Hawkwind that they are, though, there’s no constant crush. The band explodes into atomic particles and bounces signals between them in cooling winds before amazing strength once again. They’ve cracked the code on earthquake DNA and brought seismic rumble to each new terra firma they touch down upon. This kind of release snagging a late-November slot is exactly why the rush to year-end judgment should be avoided. You never know when an album’s going to shake the moorings this hard, and when it does, reverence is owed.




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Kikagaku Moyo

On their latest album for GuruGuru Brain, Kikagaku Moyo have dug deeper into their psychedelic soul than ever before. The album, produced with Portuguese jazz musician Bruno Pernadas, still weaves their appreciation for psych-folk, spiritual ambience, sitar breakdowns and deluges of guitar, but adds a newfound spaciousness and attention to groove that pushes Masana Temples to the top of their catalog. The band’s last album was awash in pastoral hues, and while it often lit the match on psychedelic burdowns, the remainder of the album rooted itself in a crisp coolness. The aptly titled House in the Long Grass evoked the lush countryside and the solace of verdant spaces. While some of that aspect still remains on their proper follow up, there’s an indelible sense of the city and humanity’s hum present in the mix this time.

Perhaps part of this arises from the band members putting space between themselves, thus necessitating entry to the clockwork coercion of city environs. The mournful lilt of “Orange Peel” and the lonesome slink “Nazo Nazo” capture a sense of traveling – echoing loneliness among a hive of constant activity. As the members work their ways back towards one another the modern world inevitably creeps up to try to reclaim them. The band, however, slips through with the steadied pace of cosmic travelers straight out of a Jodorowsky vision. They seem to radiate a utopian bubble of classic ’70s psychedelia that wards off the technological tangle all around us. The record bends creative restlessness into an organic set of songs that breathe with tension, elation, and as usual, ferocious catharsis. When they flick the flint to flame on “Nana” and “Gatherings” its with purpose, burning down the modern marvels to reveal the old temples beneath.

Perndas, it appears, shares their interest in lending immediacy to a recording, with the band working in one or two takes, even if it means the song isn’t note perfect. Not that Kikagaku Moyo are sloppy, but the imperfections lend even more weathering to their vintage air, conjuring up communal psych communities more attuned to the trip than concerned with the token of a pristine recording. Kikagaku Moyo perked many ears with Forest of Lost Children, positioned themselves at the top of Tokyo’s psychedelic circuit with House in the Long Grass and now they cinch their pedigree with Masana Temples. If somehow you’ve missed out on the band up ’til now, this is the perfect moment to come on board.



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Kikagaku Moyo – “Nazo Nazo”

2018 is a banner year for new music, but I’d be hard pressed to say there are many releases that I’m as excited for as the upcoming LP from Kikagaku Moyo. The Tokyo band stunned with 2016’s House In The Tall Grass, and while their EP last year was a nice as tide-over seat filler, its looser experimental nature didn’t sate as a proper follow-up. Masana Temples arrives early next month to sooth fans longing for another long player from these guys, and it delivers absolutely. Let the latest single from the album, and its accompanying surrealist video prove the case.

“Nazo Nazo” hangs in the ether with a lycergic calm. The guitars drop like Mercury from above. They pool in the brain and waft a psychedelic chill down the spine. Its the band at their best and exemplifies the album’s detached cool. If this one isn’t already on your October pickup list, then this should change your mind.



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Kikagaku Moyo – “In A Coil”

Coming off tremendous acclaim for their pastoral psych masterpiece House In The Tall Grass Kikagaku Moyo don’t rest easy on recreating that album’s languid vibes. Instead they holed up in Prague and went deep into their improvisational side, as embraced on their earlier records. The first offering from the EP anchors their effusive psych cloud to a motorik pulse, hammering home the rhythm as a nice offset to the squelch of guitars and lilting sitar melody. It’s comforting to know that at their heart Kikagaku Moyo are looking to find the nerve of psychedelia, song based or not, and they’re leading you on their trip. They’re not looking for any nods of approval, just getting back to the nuts and bolts of lifting consciousness.




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Sundays & Cybele

Tokyo’s Sundays & Cybele (named for the ’62 French film) have been steadily building a reputation as psych powerhouses over their last two albums. They unlatch their third and maybe fourth eyes on Chaos & Systems, building to a peak that sees them seated high on the psychedelic mountain alongside fellow travelers Kikagaku Moyo. The album burns with the feral cry of guitar, howling and pleading with the listener to feed on the aural offerings, but they know that it can’t be all heat and no sizzle. Where tracks like “Butterfly’s Dream” tap the lava core and run it through the amps, they’re dipping through cool eddies of soft psych just one track later. Their true prowess comes in building to those chaotic breakdowns and balancing them with work that’s delicate to the point of trembling.

That balance seems to be where they divine the title, an encapsulation of push and pull on a cosmic level. The most striking thing is that the band crafts pristine monuments to psychedelia without the crusted hammer of fuzz devastation. The album revels in creation and destruction in kind, but the destruction is just as beautiful as the build. They curl in the warmth of the evening light, warm and serene and safe. Then, when the storms do blow in they’re not ragged and windy, but rather full of extravagant lightning that tears at the sky with as much beauty as those sunset hues. The last twelve months have been a banner for psychedelia, but the momentum hasn’t waned at all. We need a little chaos these days, in the face of the breakdown of tried and true systems. Sunday’s & Cybele have just the tonic to soothe.



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Sundays & Cybele – “Butterfly’s Dream”

Tokyo’s Sundays & Cybele have amassed a catalog of grand psych that feeds on the expressive and expansive psych their forefathers wrought before them. They tore down the house on Heaven and are rebuilding it out of scorched timbers with the first cut of their latest, Chaos & Systems. As always, a commendable move to just launch out with a 9+ minute track as the peek into a new release. It seems natural for S&C though, working out acid flecked guitar solos over most of the track and burning it down like they’re submitting a resume for an Acid Mother’s Temple opening slot with each successive lick. The track isn’t untethered though, its parsing through the cosmos and driven by a half ton of amp fry, but the ship their driving is sleek and silver and cut like a bullet. If the rest of Chaos & Systems is half as explosive as this, then its still going to melt a few minds when it hits.

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