I’m gonna end March with the Japanese psychedelic act Kikagaku Moyo, who performed earlier this month at the Regent Theatre in DTLA. Yeah, this is another one of those belated posts that have suffered from the backlog of my often unpredictable life. Nonetheless, it is here now, and it will be worth it.
Kikagaku Moyo, which translates to “geometric patterns,” if Wikipedia is to be trusted, is the one band I regret missing at Desert Daze last year. I heard from various attendees that they were a particularly bright highlight in a lineup filled with many highlights. I can’t remember why I didn’t catch them. By all practical reasons, I should’ve seen at least part of their set, as the second stage they were on was strategically situated in the middle of everything. Alas, it was not meant to be.
Fortunately, the Japanese five-piece chose to return to the states for an encore tour, with a stop at the aforementioned Regent on March 6th. It already feels like a lifetime ago, since that show occurred, which is what happens when important things get put aside, unintentionally or not. But combing through the setlist, and viewing some of the footage again, I totally feel this one deserves a spotlight. Plus, it’s reignited some fond musical memories, which I’m proud to say is one of the selfish reasons I continue to do this blog, beyond the usual this and that.
So Kikagaku Moyo … as I said, they’re a psychedelic guitar act, steeped pretty deep in ’60s and ’70s rock and folk motifs, as well as hints of unexpected Krautrock with an ethnic coat of Indian sitar melodies to boot. They can be noisy-loud, or super-quiet, depending on where the groove takes them, as improvisation plays a key role. They craft progressive kaleidoscopic structures that float with hippie wanderlust and acid hallucination. And not surprisingly, all five of them have long straight hair, not unlike the Ringu girl. But in this case, their colorfully paisley and striped attire keep their appearance friendly rather than frightening. Also, they’re incredibly polite and humble.
For their Regent performance, which I might add was also sold out, they offered a svelte hour long set of 10 songs, collated mainly from the their latest two albums, 2018’s “Masana Temples” and 2016’s “House in the Tall Grass.” If you know the material, then I’m betting you’d be quite pleased with the setlist.
I got to hear my two favorites off the latter release, the acoustic mellow “Old Snow, White Sun” and the laid-back retro rhythmic “Green Sugar,” which I covered back in November. From “Masana Temples,” they played five tunes, two of them standing strong in my mind, the sitar enchanted ambience of “Entrance” and the meandering improv-infused ’70s dream-hazed rhythms of “Dripping Sun.” There were also a few old ones I admittedly didn’t know, “Tree Smoke” and “Streets of Calcutta,” both skewing on the more raw-som edge of blistery psychedelia. Now, that gap of knowledge has been corrected.
I’ve got six clips below, totaling seven songs. One of the clips has “Entrance” and “Dripping Sun” together, as one informally acts as an intro to the other. The additional track I have yet to mention is the acoustic flower-powered folkloric “Cardigan Song,” which also comes from “House in the Tall Grass.” The audio’s halfway decent, considering it’s the Regent, which has a tendency to be a mixed bag, depending on the act. But the picture quality is good, and you can definitely glean quite a bit of their paisley character, which is clearly deep, deep in there.
Enjoy these offerings from Kikagaku Moyo’s live performance earlier this month.
Kikagaku Moyo perform “Tree Smoke” @ the Regent Theatre on 03.06.19.
Kikagaku Moyo perform “Green Sugar” @ the Regent Theatre on 03.06.19.
Kikagaku Moyo perform “Old Snow, White Sun” @ the Regent Theatre on 03.06.19.
Kikagaku Moyo perform “Cardigan Song” @ the Regent Theatre on 03.06.19.
Kikagaku Moyo perform “Entrance” & “Dripping Sun” @ the Regent Theatre on 03.06.19.
Kikagaku Moyo perform “Streets of Calcutta” @ the Regent Theatre on 03.06.19.
Here’s Kikagaku Moyo’s short but sweet setlist. The performance clocked in a bit longer than the assembled playlist below, due to a few extended jams and some mind altering improv, which you might’ve already witnessed above. Enjoy!