Live Review: Kikagaku Moyo 幾何学模様 – Wharf Chambers, Leeds 21.10.2014

Click on any photo at the bottom of this post to see the whole gallery from the gig.

Kikagaku Moyo/ 幾何学模様 have been in my life for about a month now, but somehow it feels longer. I must admit that I did not immediately fall for the band’s considerable charms and it took me a few listens of the Cardinal Fuzz release ‘Mammatus Clouds’ before I began to see what all the fuss was about, perhaps longer jams was not the place to start – although it is a great place to be now I’m into it. But what really sealed the deal was hearing the latest album “Forest of Lost Children” which is sublime and transcendent, and which made up the bulk of the thirty minute set, plus encore, at a spellbound Wharf Chambers.

Now there are bands for whom a thirty minute set would be a cause for complaint, but so intense was the playing, so full of passion from a band that was clearly on the top of its game and thoroughly enjoying the performance; that the length hardly mattered. I came away with a feeling of immense satisfaction, of being blown away by the sheer beauty and excitement of a band which are surely destined for greater things.

Kikagaku Moyo/幾何学模様 (translated from the Japanese at ‘geometric patterns’) formed in Tokyo in 2012 and have three releases to their name, all of which have been released/ re-released on vinyl over the last few months: an eponymously titled EP, now out on Captcha Records (vinyl) and Burger Records (cassette); the aforementioned Mammatus Clouds on Cardinal Fuzz; and Forest of Lost Children just released by Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records. It represents a body of work which is already being hailed in some circles as being very special indeed, and I can only agree.

The gig itself began very calmly and quietly with with an excellent version of Kodama (from the latest album) being an early highlight, before the band launched into and absolutely breathtaking ‘Streets of Calcutta’ which took me off into all sorts of beautiful and brutal directions. This is a song which in many ways epitomises what Kikagaku Moyo/ 幾何学模様 are all about: it is at some points calming and reassuring, yet at other times unsettling. It is a track where you can see the influences of Hawkwind, West Coast 60s psychedelia, prog and kraurock – but understand that they are just used as stepping stones to a greater sound.

I count myself very lucky to be at this gig, one of only two on the UK tour that features the band’s sitar player, and where I saw them perform a cover of International Harvester’s “There Is No Other Place”, the final track from Mammatus Clouds, for the very first time. Probably the highlight of the gig for me, though, was ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, and absolutely fantastic freak out which just seemed rise and fall and then build and build into a fantastic climax of sitar, wah wah guitar and thumping bass and drums – all played out like there was no tomorrow…and then it was all over…except the band came back on for a rare encore of ‘Dawn’, from the band’s debut release. This was a fitting end to an absolutely superb gig which, despite my superlative-filled attempts here, I find very difficult to put into words.

All I can say it that if there is any justice in this world then Kikagaku Moyo/幾何学模様 (if they wish it) should be massive, and I will be playing their music for many years to come because of its timeless, enchanting and completely authentic qualities. It’s only been a month, but I think I’ve fallen for the band hard.

Kikagaku Moyo/幾何学模様 are:

Vocal/Guitar: Tomo Katsurada
Guitar: Daoud Popal
Sitar/Keyboard: Ryu Kurosawa
Bass: Kotsuguy
Drums/Vocal: Go Kurosawa

You can find more Psych Insights by Simon Delic here.

Click on any photo to see the whole gallery from the gig.

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