Levitation Live Shot: Kikagaku Moyo, Stonefield, Minami Deutsch
True psych sandwiches Aussie sisters between Tokyo wizards
By Rick Weaver,
10:55AM, Fri. Nov. 8, 2019
Nuts and bolt tight but loose enough, Tokyo sorcerers Kikagaku Moyo snapped together their prefab labyrinth of viscera and spirit Thursday night outside at Barracuda for the beginning of Levitation weekend 2019.
While cold weather and buzzed conversation swallowed some subtleties of their deadhead gradients and fragrant arrangements, the Japanese fivepiece moved with reverberant grace through pomegranates of sympathetic psychedelia. At-capacity shredding transferred serenity, and even flexatone accents sounded eloquent in Tomo Katsurada’s hands.
Each player knew how far to pull the drawbars – when to stick out and where to fade back. Ryu Kurosawa plucked peacock feathers off his sitar before blending in with the curtains on keyboards, replaced by the flanged skirl and spacious careful notes of Daoud Popal. On the final number, drummer Go Kurosawa muscled motorik back in after an airy interlace of strings.
Ultimately, Kikagaku Moyo tuned its system of seamless interchanges with trust; planets retained their characteristics while remaining in orbit. At a certain point, the effects of weightlessness kicked in. And stayed there.
At the headbanger’s plateau, sister act Stonefield marched forward in unison. Drummer and vocalist Amy Findlay led the metrical surge from behind the kit, ripping hunter’s howls and eagle-high melisma through shines of open hi-hat and cymbal crashes. On occasion, Sarah Findlay’s vocal harmonies and keys salted the lean cuts of garage stomp with sci-fi seasoning. Otherwise, the Australian quartet amplified only the essential ingredients of hard rock, discarding any and all excess.
The first act of the night, Minami Deutsch, also from Tokyo, rode endless chords over timewheel drums. Secret agent man guitar tucked and rolled between piston reps. Patterns repeated in the receding tide until simple shapes shifted and overlapped translucent hallucinations.
Breakout bursts and bold chord changes counteracted the ecstasy of the modal drones, while small guitar fires in the middle of the flatlands fueled the groove and glide. Little-bit-softer-now ebbs and slight tempo aberrations helped guide their close-quarters cruises toward an indistinct center, vague material between concrete and clouds.