Kikagaku Moyo

Forest of Lost Children

Written by: BV on 07/02/2015 17:44:41

Not a lot of people seem to associate Japan and psychedelic rock these days. It’s strange, seeing as the kraut-rock excursions of Acid Mother’s Temple have been at the forefront of the scene for years, making way for newer acts like Kikagaku Moyo to dazzle the as-of-yet unconvinced psych fans. I’ve previously given Kikagaku Moyo’s debut EP quite a few spins and even written quite a lot of positive words about it too. At the time, I wondered if they could distill their refreshing sound into yet another product. What happened, then, was that the band once again disappeared under my radar, releasing not one, but two records in the previous year. The latter of those two, their full-length album “Forest of Lost Children”, is what this review will be about.

For those uninitiated in the world of Kikagaku Moyo’s surreal sounds, album opener “Semicircle” is quite suited for introductory purposes. It’s lingering, droning acoustic improvisational vibe is the very essence of this quite young musical collective. It’s free-spirited and, at times, without direction. The band members soon find each other musically, however, and are thereby able to add more substance to the jam – making it more than quaint, as it actually lures the listener in just before it unravels again near the end, making way for the slightly up-tempo “Kodama”. Kikagaku Moyo is a multifaceted musical being as the collective transforms from a psychedelic folk-band over through mellow, chanting drones and into full-on improvisational psych escapades a la “Smoke and Mirrors” which completely transforms from subtle, underplayed beginnings to a kaleidoscopic bombardment of guitar solos, punchy bass earthbound drumming – topped off with wordless vocals that are simply pleasing to hum along to.

“Streets of Calcutta”, which is apparently a cover version of an Ananda Shankar track from the 1970’s, might actually appeal to the average Hawkwind fan with its driving beat – propelling the band into a strange garage-punk meets eastern-tinged folk-rock hybrid. It’s a strange combination, but it is extremely appealing, to me at least, when the sitar becomes as prominent in the mix as is the case on this track.

I was a bit worried that Kikagaku Moyo might not be able to follow up on the grand success that was their debut EP. However, with “Forest of Lost Children” the band seems to have taken one more step towards realizing their full potential as a premier conveyor of the psychedelic Japan – a criminally underrated psychedelic outlet, it would seem. If you’re a psych fan and you’re not on board with this yet, I suggest you should be.


Download: Semicircle, Streets of Calcutta, Smoke and Mirrors
For the fans of: Acid Mother’s Temple, Yonin Bayashi, New Electric Ride
Listen: Facebook

Release date 20.05.2014
Beyond Beyond is Beyond

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