London, 25 May 2019:
A cool crew of boys with hair that felts together in a wig of 70s squat, expand around the balcony of the Electric in Brixton tonight for an extravaganza of neo-acid rock – surrounded by girls you wanna meet walking the California desert – tassels, feathers, denim, crochet – long hair, wild hearts.
Headlined by Kikagaku Moyo (it’s taken 10 times writing that to get the spelling right of the words that translate to ‘geometric patterns’ from Japanese) – the Tokyo-borne leaders of post-Can, mushroom boogie who herald the new wave of psych – and virtually uncategorisable stuff that may crossover, as Kruangabin have, into Spotify playlists – and festivals beyond the holy trippy triptych of Desert Daze, Levitation, Fuzz Club and Synesthesie: YES, we are trippin balls – and can’t count – because from here it looks like the PSYCHEDELIC REVOLUTION WILL COME AND SAVE US ALL, AGAIN, brothers and sisters.
You kinda have to be in the coolest band in the world to carry off green n yellow striped flares like Daoud Popal, who joined Tomo Katsurada and Go Kurosawa in Kikagaku Moyo after they’d first started recording in 2012 – I’m sure Rod Stewart rocked out some similar strides in his time, but so did Noddy – and to do it barefoot, in a sea of pedals, and stand in resonance with one another – this five piece form a circle of human peyote, shamanic stoner henge rockers of the new breed. There’s an astral plane unity to these guys, the guitarist, Go, taking drums – drummer, Tomo, taking chair and a mic, for different tracks, with petit cello and ripples of electric precision star guitar, to Go’s brother, Ryu, who learnt sitar from West Bengal-born Manilal Nag. Each with varying degrees of Bo Ningen hair, the skilled AF band of harmonious fam are equally tight, taking us on a journey built on rising nuance and sophistication and soaring speeds spurring into the fractal cloud like Valkyrie.
The result is sentiently responsive – they delve into kryptonite solos together – with an electronica repetition flying out very occasionally, with the resonance of bamboo percussion. It’s all v Western – cowboy tripping on native spirituality – full of wah wah spangle – 70s who dunnit Columbo builds – and uncheesy space guitar because it’s done on a pedalled sitar. Riding into the storm – after the storm – come down horse riding – the only tragedy is the set ends as fast as it began. They are cute too. Lyrics written on cowbells, all naive, and singalong nursery, before going cray heavy rock metal – total guitar hero n v loud drums. It’s droney, and spacey and light and gentle all within lightspeed – whatever the fuck their sound is. Writing about music, is often like painting with concrete, or dancing to architecture – but I hope this may lead you to discovery, if you haven’t already. The mighty Gil De Ray, and myself (Kirsty Allison, editor of this fine subcultural offering) who attended this fine evening of psychedelic entertainment have built a small playlist for you to peruse, if you wish to partake in the evils of Spotify.
The raga folk fuzz lords are supported tonight by the next in line: WAND, and Prettiest Eyes, both from sexy Los Angeles, and Berlin’s Mueran Humanos, who verge on the industrial Sex Cells drone side of the spectrum, there’s also San Fran’s Wooden Shijps, whose visuals of close up TV microdots carry the colours of MDMA rather than the 60s. And that’s what it all is – updated psychedelia – this ain’t the Ozric Tentacles or Hawkwind. It carries none of the freakout weirdness of Pink Floyd trippiness or Syd Barrett LSD ODs – it takes the joint and breathes in deeply from ambient, and naturally takes you to saharasaran heights fresh as the first time with every, well-practiced note.
Tonight demonstrates the psych polars – from Casio chorded hipster pizza joint weekend trippers – to the acid cult overlords – there’s something for the microdoser, the macrodoser, the no-doser, or the post-doser.
Elements of DAD PSYCH will come forth, and plastic pop genericism will splatter forth into selfie safe festival experiential spaces, SAFE PSYCH, if you will — but this is more acid metal than Kraut, and owes the salt on which it floats to the horizon light of the late 80s that bore Spiritualised. This is the influence of California budding, of neo-eco logic, of more than escapism – and it is most definitely a Thing, and could change the world, or at least refresh your view of it.
[AND COLD LIPS ENCOURAGE YOU TO TAKE DRUGS RESPONSIBLY, IF YOU ARE. BE KIND TO YOURSELF, DRUGS AREN’T COOL – YOU ARE!]
FESTIVALS TO PSYCH OUT AT:
Shout out to Lilly Creightmore, photographer of our last cover, who’s director of the forthcoming TRIP THE LIGHT film, which explores the post-Brian Jonestown Massacre psych scene, touring with The Black Angels, COLD LIPS’ fave Will Carruthers (who read at our party with Dr John Cooper Clarke, and wrote that quite phenom Playing Bass with 3 Left Hands book), and leaders who grew up on the Dig film – it will undoubtedly explode the squealing feedback of this flanging, phasing distorting movement – from the Desert Daze festival to the forefront of our acid soaked eyeballs.