Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples

Kikagaku Moyo’s attempt to convey a sense of an unfurling journey on Masana Temples gets lost early on its way

Album Review by James Ewen | 01 Oct 2018
  • Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples
Album title: Masana Temples
Artist: Kikagaku Moyo
Label: Guruguru Brain
Release date: 5 Oct

Tokyo’s psychedelic scene must be bustling, as staunch proponents Kikagaku Moyo upped sticks for their latest album Masana Temples and fled to Lisbon in search of a new sound in a fresh locale. To assist with this, the band enlisted Portuguese jazz musician and producer Bruno Pernadas to fuse the spontaneity of his native genre with the experimental sprawls of their own.

The intention on Masana Temples was to capture the sense of an unfurling journey. "Get up, ride on a horse, take a walk, explore, and go back to your place and sleep,” says drummer and singer Go Kurosawa (name envy) of the album’s opus Dripping Sun. This cut, along with a slight handful of others, shine true with their vision, and furthermore, successfully meld the two genres they set out to achieve.

However, Kurosawa’s words, unfortunately, sum up the issue that plagues the record. It tries to cover too much ground on its pilgrimage to novelty and ends up lost on its way. Journeys have a spirit and a narrative, and this has nothing of the sort. There is no feeling of progression present as it rambles aimlessly, and with each succeeding track – despite attempts to segue – they introduce a new vibe, which hinders the trip’s momentum.

Praise should be given for their desire to mix things so royally up by stepping away from their trusted sound and homeland. As well, choosing to close out on Blanket Song, with its brightly plucked steel-string and floating vocals, leaves off on a notion that setting forth in the future with this lot might still be worth it.

Listen to: Dripping Sun, Blanket Song