Home Read Now Hear This: Pikacyu-Makoto | Galaxilympics

Now Hear This: Pikacyu-Makoto | Galaxilympics

The Japanese psych-rock duo pack more sound, ideas, originality and personality into their sprawling, freewheeling compositions than most bands deliver in a career.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Pikacyu-Makoto are an intergalactic love and peace duo, featuring two figureheads of underground Japanese music; Pika from Afrirampo and Makoto Kawabata of legendary psychedelic avatars Acid Mother’s Temple.

As a duo they embrace both sides of the coin, drums and guitar, chaos and order, male and female, ying and yang, angel and devil. They are more than the sum of both counterparts though, making for a maximalist auditory experience. Pika brings her skills of mystifying performance to the table, all free-drum bluster and vocals veering between shrine maiden and wild spirit. Kawabata’s guitar work moves from a roar to a whisper, a yell to a sob; he’s working on the same canvas of extremes. Their aim is to write truly celestial hymns for the outer world and odes of love for the inner cosmic context.

No strangers, the pair have not only gigged together with their respective bands but also recorded together, when these two outfits temporarily fused in 2005 to become Acid Mothers Afrirampo (releasing an album of the same name). Two years later they distilled their collaboration, all other players being stripped away to leave the core of Pikacyu’s manic drums and pop vocal, and Makoto’s schizoid guitar conjurings. In 2011 they spent five weeks touring the U.S. and released their first album, OM Sweet Home: We Are Shining Stars From Darkside. Last year they spent two weeks touring through Europe whilst writing a new album suffused with the outreaching sound and message of their impulsive live performances.

Galaxilympics is an album of contrasts, so much colour, so much shade. Space Sumo kicks off the record in explosive style. Pikacyu’s drums jitter, crash and stumble, but steadfastly refuse to groove. Makoto attacks his guitar, cloaking himself in reverb to produce a wall-of-sound, alternating between melody and noise. Funifunikonefuni follows with its frenzied take on pop music, bubbling with energy and Pika’s multiple vocal layers. I’ll Forgive is chant-like in its devotion to following the tumbling melody line of the song even to absurd and unpredictable dimensions. Pika Mako Hall is a more serene affair, with whispered echoes and guitar drones swirling amongst bursts of rapid sequencer ambience. Castle Of Sand picks up on this more spacious approach with slowly developing programmed electronics, before the title track erupts with gurgling synths, soaring guitar trails and Pika’s most searching vocal yet.

The album concludes in reflective manner with the suitably titled Sayonownara, a song as much in the present as it is in the act of saying farewell. It’s positively elegiac with washes of cymbal and deep acres of guitar drone for the first five minutes before Pika’s drums take things up a gear and into more psychedelic out-rock terrain. This insurgence eventually peaks and the album melts away to silence. Pikacyu-Makoto have made an album that takes you on a trip into your very soul before emerging once more at the edge of another galaxy. Galaxilympics is a triumph of opposites united, it enjoys walking out into the unknown, but it’s also a portal into the very real world of two musicians who find peace and semblance through their interaction. Hymns and odes to one side, this is a giant album of future-facing song and noise, where better to find harmony enthroned?”


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