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.
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.
‘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.