Kikagaku Moyo is back with Masana Temples, their 4th studio album. There is an atemporal and a glistening quality to their entire discography, it has flourished naturally, responding to the pace of the seasons, to humidity, to light and to the vegetation surrounding it. It’s important to mention their discography because each album of theirs is an adventure, a spellbinding exploration; their sound has bloomed and has taken many different directions without losing its very own signature.
Masana Temples comes from a very unique state of solace and harmony, the textures they work with and their perspective are as colorful as they're interesting. Kikagaku Moyo translates into ‘geometric patterns’, these patterns come forth to meet the eye, overlapping sweetly with a golden luminescence as Entrance settles in, a welcoming radiance; the wind and the golden beams play about with a whimsical shower of petals, leading them up and down, from one hue to another. Dripping Sun sharply changes our sense of direction with a clean cut; Kotsu Guy's bass leads the way through the effervescence of Tomo Katsurada and Daoud Popal's guitars that swarm around it; we run into a clearing, the rhythm rests caressed by the silken whisper of Go Kurosawa’s voice. This is a song of tiny, yet detailed discoveries. Nazo Nazo glides with a rarefied mildness, under the lethargic clamor of midday’s sun; it’s rather easy to picture the scaled patterns of a snake as they slither brazenly, leaving a trace of curves as it goes; the perspective surrounding us starts to shift as this track dissolves; Fluffy Kosmisch brings a delicate vivaciousness to the picture, as it prepares us for lift-off. The keyboards take hold as they shape the density and the spaces surrounding us with a fleecy static; speed; tension; tension; lift-off. Suddenly we’re suspended in between prehistorical ants and constellations, Majupose wafts, its stride as sophisticated as a kaleidoscope’s. The hazy nebulas and the hard-working ants swirl beautifully with a quotidian sway; we’re essentially witnesses at this point. The space around us is rapidly rearranged with Nana, a catchy highlight from the album. Out of the blue, what’s up is down, a countdown takes place as it marches into a refreshing explosion of profuse cloudscapes lead by Ryu Kurosawa's sitar. Orange Peel expands, it slowly persuades you from your weight as it carries you, swinging back and forth along crystalline blossoms that meld and multiply as they collide into each other. Throughout the album they’ve managed to sculpt a flow of time, an altered perspective with its very own rules and its very own density. Amayadori refreshes the heat as things go back into proportion; maps from the traces of the raindrops escape this interlude. Their music is very honest, therefore it reveals a little bit of the dynamic they share, of the understanding and the trust they have for each other, resembling a home in motion. Masana Temples closes beautifully with Blanket Songs, an embrace from their own particular folklore; this endearing lullaby dissipates the clouds, unveiling the moon.
-It’s been six years since Kikagaku Moyo started; how has it been, getting to know each other? What have you learned from each other and from traveling together?
Go Kurosawa: Well, before/since we started the band, we have always been friends - not just bandmates. We talk a lot, we play video games a lot, and sleep a lot! We feel so lucky because we are just having a lot of fun being together every day, and also we get to play music all the time which is amazing! We respect each other because everyone is really great at something. For example, Tomo is good at business, Guy knows a lot of cool music, Ryu knows a lot about the Tokyo scene and about sitar, and Daoud is just a genius.
-Your music is very visual, how has the musicality of nature/landscapes inspired you? How do you translate these landscapes into music?
We recently played at a festival in Bali, Indonesia. It was in a mountain, there were big stones all around and at the top of the mountain, there was a massive statue looking down. It was literally a mix of Stone Garden and Masana Temples! Before we played our set, some people told us that this place has a myth that it has never rained. While we were playing the last song of our set, it started to rain, and people started applauding and put their hands up. We felt as if nature gave us some special effects during that song.
-I happen to like trilobites very much; would you tell us more about your song, Trilobites, and of your Stone Garden EP?
It was just a jam we recorded in Prague. Our friend Hideki Urawa reorganized all the hours of recordings of jams, and re-composed it.
-You’ve said ‘Masana’, from Masana Temples, is a word of your invention that expresses a utopic sense of harmony, how do you relate to harmony? What was the inspiration behind this brand new album?
There’s no answer because I want people to make up their own stories.
-How was it like, working with Bruno Pernadas?
It was truly an amazing experience. We were listening to his records on the tour a lot last year, and we asked him if he could produce our new record. He didn’t know about us and he had only produced his band. He gave us different ideas that we didn’t have, for example, on one song he asked us if we had 5 cents, we searched our pockets and handed him a couple of 5 cent coins. He taped on the ride cymbal and used it as a sizzler, and it sounded amazing!
-Could you tell us the story behind Orange Peel?
This song was inspired by a short trip I took to a friend's place. She’s from Brazil, and she made fresh orange juice, and I saw a pile of orange peel. On my way home, I was only listening to Brazilian music when wrote this song.
-Who is the artist behind the artwork of your cover? How did you find his/her work?
She is Phannapast from Thailand. We sent her the songs and asked her to draw what she liked. It’s so amazing that we can collaborate with such good artists all over the world! When we were mixing, we start receiving some sketches of artwork. So the artwork was influenced by the sounds in the record.
-Would you tell us more about Blanket Songs and Majupose?
Blanket Songs is a continuous song from a song called 'Cardigan Song' from the last album. We have some folk songs and we just write what we like, such as warm cardigans, or a soft blanket. Guess what’s next?
-Could you tell us a bit of the place House In The Tall Grass came from? More specifically, Kogarashi?
Kogarashi was inspired by a trip we took to northern Japan. We were surrounded by snow and it absorbed all the sounds. That was the main theme for the album.
-When you look back to what you’ve accomplished; to all the beautiful music you’ve created; to all the projects you’ve supported through Guruguru Brain; what are you most proud of?
I am still not in a place where I can be proud of myself. We’d be very happy if people in the world were curious about other cultures and respect them by discovering one of the artists from our label. I could only accomplish what we have with everyone’s support and help. All the people we've met through this journey have been willing to help us and teach us what they know. We want to return to them by making people feel good with our music, hopefully.
Wander along Kikagaku Moyo!: