Japan's current psychedelic scene honors its roots – from the motorcycle guitar-rock of Les Rallizes Dénudés and High Rise to the still-running and unpinnable Acid Mothers Temple – but also puts a premium on meditative transcendence. Some of the best bands right now are being documented by the Tokyo-based label Guruguru Brain, run by members of Kikagaku Moyo (which translates, appropriately, as "geometric patterns"), who are acting like a modern-day equivalent to P.S.F., a vital record label that spanned three decades of Japanese experimental music. Guruguru's goal is to expose Asia's psych scene to the world, and one of its most prettily prismatic offerings was 2015's Gypsy House by Sundays & Cybele.
Now signed stateside to the Brooklyn-based Beyond Beyond Is Beyond, Sundays & Cybele returns just two years later with Chaos & Systems, a record that flowers with hazy melody one minute and scorches the sky in the next. The opening title track is somewhat atypical in that finds a tranquil mode and leans into its kaleidoscopic trance, and doesn't explode into a mess of feedback. It layers kalimba with synths until the band hits a motorik groove.
Guitarist and vocalist Kazuo Tsubouchi tells NPR in an email that the track "was made when I was toying around with a kalimba. I often play kalimba to relax. It was inspired by gamelan, but all the sounds were played on only one kalimba. As for the lyrics, it is like the rice-planter's song. Ancient people planted rice while singing. It's a prayer for fertility and Cybele is the goddess of fertility and destruction... Chaos & Systems."
Chaos & Systems comes out Feb. 24 on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond.