Kikagaku Moyo’s name translated means “geometric patterns.” The group hails from Tokyo, Japan and has been active since 2012. The band also hosts their own label, Guruguru Brain, which has some of the best psychedelic artists on their roster in music today.
When this album hit my ears, the first thing I thought was how much I missed live music. Kikagaku Moyo’s Live At LEVITATION is a look into two different periods of the band. The A side of the album is a recording taken from Austin Psych Fest in 2014, the band’s first performance in the US. The B side is the band’s 2019 performance taken from Levitation. Even in their early stages the band plays with heft and a live intensity that echoes Jeff Buckley. “Smoke and Mirrors” especially hit hard with it’s repeated rising and crashing actions. That’s a theme that keeps repeating with the group but, it’s never something that overstays its welcome.
The first track from their 2019 set, “Dripping Sun,” showcases blazing guitar juxtaposed with soft spoken Japanese passages. The music is energetic and shooting at the same time. “Gatherings” splices Afrobeat and psychedelics with an uplifting tempo change that carries the song to its conclusion. “Nazo Nazo” ends the set on a tranquil note. Kikagaku Moyo has been a Fire Note favorite for some time now. Live At LEVITATION is a great reminder why. This band has proven that they can be just as solid and original in 2019 as they were in 2014. It only makes me more excited in hopes that we get a new album this year.
Key Tracks: “Smoke And Mirrors” / “Gatherings” / “Nazo Nazo”
Artists With Similar Fire: Wand / Elephant Stone / Dungen
-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy