Maya Ongaku: Approach To Anima [Album Review]

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Maya Ongaku
Approach To Anima
Guruguru Brain [2023]

Maya Ongaku is a trio hailing from the seaside communities surrounding Enoshima, a small island located 50 km southwest of Tokyo, Japan. The group earned a bunch of early fans as they were an opener for label mate Kikagaku Moyo’s final tour. Approach To Anima is their debut album, and its earthy psychedelia transcends their roots, delving deep into your inner soul. The album takes listeners on a fantastic dreamy and atmospheric journey. It has a minimalistic sound yet is rich, with certain areas where the instrumentation feels sparse but allows the raw emotion and vulnerability of Maya Ongaku to shine through.

Notable songs include the hauntingly beautiful “Water Dreams,” which stretches over 11 minutes and features the sound of a fresh stream trickling in the background. The effect is completely hypnotic as Tsutomu Sonoda’s vocals float by and a jazzy saxophone plays off in the distance. Another standout track is “Nuska,” where Sonoda’s peaceful vocals support an enchanting melody while the group blends electric, acoustic, and bass guitars, with a bug shaker keeping a gentle beat. The masterfulness of their playing elevates each track that Maya Ongaku tackles, allowing each instrument to have its moment in these intimate compositions.

Overall, this album is a must-listen for fans of experimental and psych-folk music. Approach To Anima showcases Maya Ongaku’s talent for creating captivating sonic landscapes, drawing listeners into a small and quiet realm of exploration and introspection. The production is pristine, allowing the intricate instrumentation and textures to shine through while maintaining a sense of depth and spaciousness. It is an album that rewards repeated listens, as new layers and details reveal themselves with each encounter.

“Nuska” / “Description Of A Certain Sound” / “Water Dream”

Artist / Kikagaku Moyo / Six Organs Of Admittance

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