Japanese psych experimentalists Kikagaku Moyo return off the back of their second full-length 2016 album ‘House in the Tall Grass’ with a five-track EP, treating it as an opportunity to communicate a more experimental viewpoint of the many influences and styles they successfully adopt.
Stone Garden harbours music for the mind and soul, and is to be best enjoyed on a set of quality headphones to appreciate the finely-crafted mixing and instrumental subtleties.
Although speaking of subtleties, much of this EP is rather more an attack on the senses, as the chaotic noise-psych of ‘Backlash’ communicates. At times, you could question if they just forgot to turn the noise suppressor off, yet the six-minute runtime of this cut shows a dedication for the relentless display of buzzing fuzz.
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The longest track comes in the shape of ‘Nobakitani’, closing out at just under nine-minutes. Its strong acoustic flavour blossoms throughout, with the band’s past Indian influences coming through in the shape of multi-layered twangy guitars and sitar, however ultimately getting rather self-indulgent.
‘Trilobites’ showcases Hideki Urawa’s adept mixing as the distant bassline forms part of a dynamic tag-team with the noise-ridden feedback. ‘In a Coil’ features a more conventional song structure, similar to material on last years’ ‘House in the Tall Grass’, yet is still plush with the band’s ability to create bold psychedelic auras.
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‘Floating Leaf’ carries certain ‘The King of Limbs’-era Radiohead characteristics, with its synthetic beats coupled with ethereal, water-like instrumentation. Again, the band and Urawa’s will to play around with volume range and channel mixing culminates in the most-worthy composition on offer here.
Stone Garden is very much a collection of music to be experienced with a dedication of concentration, to realise the clever partnership of a freeform performance style with compelling post-production techniques.
Stone Garden is available April 21 through Guruguru Records.