Their discography is a testament to the far-reaching connections that comprise a global scene of small and dedicated operators, with releases on labels Cosmic Eye/Sound Effect, Beyond is Beyond is Beyond, Captcha, Cardinal Fuzz, God Unknown, and now Guruguru Brain. They’ve been just as prolific in their touring, logging kilometers in an ambitious tour of Europe and a few miles in the states, as well, playing the high profile L.A. and Austin Psych Fests. On House in the Tall Grass, Kikagaku Moyo explore the softer side of the psychedelic sound to create a work that is as persistent as it is meditative.
Taking inspiration from filmic works, like Ry Cooder’s Paris, Texas soundtrack, the band sought to produce something cohesive. The overall softness of the songs lend the album an elemental quality, evocative of travel in the midst of boundless nature. Aberrations from the baseline quietness magnify this quality. Buoyant bass melodies call to mind sunlight on snow. A fuzzed-out guitar excursion on the album’s longest (and best) track, "Silver Owl," belies the cruel confidence of a sudden storm.
On the whole, though, these moments are few and far between. Sung in a language of the band’s own making, the vocals ultimately serve as just another sonic flourish. While they employ interesting elements, such as competently executed sitar meanderings, the songs ring superficial without an emotional element on which to hang the experience. The purposeful production, which is reminiscent of the lysergic clarity that has marked the solo work of Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo in recent years, only serves to underscore the resulting artifice. House in the Tall Grass is a sonically pure endeavor, but its beauty does not withstand scrutiny. Though it aspires to soundtrack, music by which to have interesting experiences, it amounts to mere mood music; ambience and suggestions of potential, but little else.