Kikagaku Moyo - SOLD OUT

Fri. Feb 22, 2019 at 8:00pm CST
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Today
Price: $15.00
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Today
Price: $15.00
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Event Description

with Art Feynman





“Masana” is a fictional word created by Kikagaku Moyo to express a Utopian feeling; an existence where everything can interact harmoniously and offer inspiration and understanding. Their fourth album Masana Temples radiates this vision, architecting a vibrating world that isn’t confined to the known limits of what came before it.


Kikagaku Moyo progressed from early days in Tokyo’s experimental scene to traveling the world with their mind-bending sounds, exploring different facets of psychedelia on each new release and blowing minds with a live show that was just as searching as their records. The shifting dimensions of Masana Temples are informed by various experiences the band had with traveling through life together, ranging from the months spent on tour to making a pilgrimage to Lisbon to record the album with jazz musician Bruno Pernadas. The songs came together in the wake of the band breaking up the communal house most of them had shared in Tokyo, with some members relocating to Amsterdam, and others moving to different parts of Japan. Transitioning from being based in the scene they had roots in to scattering around various locales made for an even more enhanced understanding of how mystically connected the sum of their parts were when the band reunited to record new material. The music is the product of time spent in motion and all of the bending mindsets that come with it.


The band sought out Pernadas both out of admiration for his music and in an intentional move to work with a producer who came from a wildly different background. With Masana Temples, the band wanted to challenge their own concepts of what psychedelic music could be. Elements of both the attentive folk and wild-eyed rocking sides of the band are still intact throughout Masana Temples, but they’re sharper and more defined. Without sacrificing any of their experimental impulses, songs are more composed and cohesive. Pernadas’ bright production meets with nearly telepathically locked-in performances, on both lazy cloud-like jaunts like “Nazo Nazo” or fuzzed-out expeditions like lead single “Gatherings”. Drummer/vocalist Go Kurosawa, guitarist/vocalist Tomo Katsurada, bassist Kotsuguy, sitar and keyboard player Ryu Kurosawa and guitarist Daoud Popal Akira act as a unit, with an intuitive attention to space and dynamics that could only come from years of playing together in every imaginable setting.


More than the literal interpretation of being on a journey, the album’s always changing sonic panorama reflects the spiritual connection of the band moving through this all together. Life for a traveling band is a series of constant metamorphoses, with languages, cultures, climates and vibes changing with each new town. The only constant for Kikagaku Moyo throughout their travels were the five band members always together moving through it all, but each of them taking everything in from very different perspectives. Inspecting the harmonies and disparities between these perspectives, the group reflects the emotional impact of their nomadic paths.


Coming together in a way more deliberate than the beautifully floating improvisations of their Stone Garden EP or the sometimes hushed dreamstate of 2016 album House In The Tall Grass, Masana Temples is focused and clear in its vision in a way that feels unlike any of Kikagaku Moyo’s earlier sounds.





Animism, considered the world’s oldest religion, asserts that all things living and inert are endowed with spiritual qualities; from rocks, to tools, to plants. Enter California musician Art Feynman, who seems for whatever reason to have this philosophy driving at his subconscious. His debut album Blast Off Through the Wicker—itself gifted with unmistakable spirit—documents its creator looking for life in the lifeless, questioning what it means to be living.


The opening track “Eternity in Pictures” was born from Feynman’s observation that a statue appears to be crying when doused in rain. On “Can’t Stand It” he continues to lyrically tug at the thought that every inanimate thing around him might be awake and watching: “do my synthesizers know when I’m asleep? Does the floor creep beneath my feet?”


Blast Off’s magic lies in its ability to conduct these existential, almost anxiety-inducing thought-experiments around playfully excursive sounds that display musicianship and music appreciation in equal measure. It’s full of paranoid humor, earnest reflection, and articulate musical ideas. Moments enter and exit with thoughtful punctuality; some are impressive because of their brevity, some are striking in their repetitive insistence, but all of them dart in and out of influences and references with fully-digested confidence. Whatever Feynman borrows from his forbears are a part of him, not sewn-on badges.


There is a calm, disciplined pocket to be felt in everything Feynman does; krautrock slink, staccato bounce, and pentatonic bursts of Nigerian Highlife fuzz pour on the temporal canvas with unquestionable ease, never falling in the wrong place. Even more admirable is that his “canvas” is a four-track tape recorder, and that Blast Off features no loops or drum machines despite its aesthetically faithful motorik and afrobeat underpinnings.


Nowhere is this fact more surprising than on album standout “Slow Down” which pulses along infectiously with a crunchy backbeat, and deftly arpeggiating bass lines that are so locked-in that it would be hard to fault an unknowing ear for assuming the whole thing was tediously programmed. The same is true of the frenetic banger “Hot Night Jeremiah” with its metallic guitar, neurotic vocal delivery, and rigidly ticking drums that bounce off the imaginary walls. It’s easy to glean the same focused frustration that led Feynman to create the non-album rollout track, “The Shape You’re In”, about how our disconnection from ourselves can lead to the election of a leader who in Feynman’s words “can be a spiteful fool in broad daylight and it doesn’t seem to matter.”


There are gentler sides to Blast Off Through the Wicker that are made all the more special and refreshing by contrast to their surroundings. Slow punctuators “Win Win” and “Party Line” conjure the spacey tenderness of Arthur Russell inventively and respectfully, without adopting their muse’s palette wholesale. In this regard Blast Off Through the Wicker is an endearing collection of songs that capture the ear with warm-yet-clear cassette aesthetics and spot-on musicianship, both of which form an angle that points lovingly to Feynman’s deep and varied influences. Make no mistake—this one truly is alive.

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The Mill 120 East Burlington Street
Iowa City, IA 52240