Kikagaku Moyo and Ryley Walker: Deep Fried Grandeur (Husky Pants/digital outlets)

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Kikagaku Moyo and Ryley Walker: Deep Fried Grandeur (Husky Pants/digital outlets)

Although the name of the Japanese psych-rock band upfront here may not be familiar (we were underwhelmed by their Masana Temples album), many will know of American singer-guitarist Ryley Walker whose reference points are in the experimental Anglo-folk of Bert Jansch, Tim Buckley and John Martyn (and of course Nick Drake) as well as Astral Weeks-era Van Morrison (alluded to on his Primrose Green album cover, one of our Best of Elsewhere 2015 picks).

Walker has an excellent new album Course in Fable (mentioned in emails by some after Elsewhere posted its mid-year report) but here we default to this tripped-out psych-folk album recorded live at a festival in Utrecht in 2018 but which has only recently been released.

Kikagaku Moyo dial back from their more psych-rock approach into a lovely post-Grateful Dead exotica psych-folk style for the opening half of the first of these two 18 minute pieces, Pour Dampness Down in the Stream.

For the second half they all shift pace, tempo and attitude into something akin to a minimalist folk-prog motorik groove which devolves into brittle, popping rhythms with Indo-jazz guitar lines.

The second piece Shrinks The Day – basically a contiunuum form the first which illustrates the sonic arc they were on – gently pulls us back to Haight-Ashbury for some Indo-folk rock (KM have sitar player Ryu Kurosawa among their number) and something more swirling and Quicksilver-Grateful-Airplane.

For music improvised on the hoof after just one rehearsal by Walker and his four-piece band with the five-piece Kikagaku Moyo, this edit of the event is very much an album of “smoke 'em if you got 'em”.

It may seem a somewhat indulgent jam but under optimal conditions – and that could be an afternoon in the sun with a glass of wine, or pottering about the house – this one washes over and through the listener with numerous points of aural interest, shifts of shape and abstract sonic collisions (try 10 minutes into Shrinks the Day) to keep pulling you back in.

An album which really hits lift-off, Kraut-rock shoegaze and astral flight in Shrinks The Day.

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You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here

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For the full 40 minute concert this is the bootleg posted on You Tube


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