Announce debut album ‘Approach to Anima’
Out May 26th on Guruguru Brain
Guruguru Brain are excited to announce the release of the debut album from Maya Ongaku, ‘Approach to Anima’, set for release on May 29th. The first single from the album, “Nuska” is online now.
Hailing from the seaside communities surrounding Enoshima, a small island located 50 km southwest of Tokyo, Maya Ongaku is a ragtag collective of local musicians whose brand of earthy psychedelia transcends widely beyond the roots of their inner souls. The name derives not from any kind of ancient civilization, but rather a neologism defined as the imagined view outside one’s field of vision. The band—currently a trio of Tsutomu Sonoda, Ryota Takano, and Shoei Ikeda—finds sanctuary at the Ace General Store, a beachy vintage shop and salon-like space just hidden from sight from the bustling, touristy riverside Subana Street. Between discussions on music and art, curating the vinyl section and manning the register, and chatting up with locals young and old, the members find time to jam and record their spontaneous ideas in the studio tucked away in the back. It’s in this unlikely setting where Maya Ongaku finds its origins, the culmination of what Sonoda describes as 自然発生 (shizen hassei), meaning spontaneous generation, or the supposed production of living organisms from non-living matter.
‘Approach to Anima’, the group’s debut album, to be released on Guruguru Brain next month, finds Maya Ongaku building a foundational groove while tapping into their innermost psyche. Sonoda’s malleable guitar and vocals, Takano’s sinuous bass lines, Ikeda’s floating woodwinds, and a sprinkling of delicate percussion—all coalesce into an aural experience that’s assertive yet abstract, calm but unsettling. The slow building, sax-laden “Approach”serves as an introduction to Maya Ongaku’s world, while the appropriately-named “Water Dream” floats its way toward the gentle finale of “Pillow Song.” It’s a concise distillation of their many interests and influences, from Neo-Dada and Fluxus, to where contemporary art intersects with the development of modern recording technology in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Now the band have shared a first look at their debut album with single “Nuska”. Speaking on the inspiration for the track, vocalis Tsutomu Sonoda comments:“When I wrote this song, the scene I had in mind was a forest covered in thick fog. I find myself there, my vision obscured by fog. As I stand there, stunned, I hear a sound from far away. This sound is the same as the one mentioned in ‘Description of a Certain Sound’, a strange sound with visual information. We continued through the forest in search of the source of the sound. The only thing we know is that the sender is a supernatural being.
The sound is inspired by a sound the band actually heard during a trip to the forests of Hakone, in the western part of Kanagawa Prefecture. It is a very deep and heavy sound, different from the sound of the earth. It reached us from as far away as possible. We called the sound ‘Echo of the Earth’. The rhythm that comes from afar at the beginning of ‘Approach’ is an imitation of that sound.
The title of the album, Approach to Anima, refers to the source of this ‘echo of the earth’ as ‘anima’ and is a journey in search of it.”
The new composition immediately entices the audience to hook on the clarity of the atmosphere. The bed of lush textures and intricate noodles creates the most illustrious setting. This landscape oozes such a unique charm, it reflects this compassionate warmth from the tonality, the percussive additions, and the rhythmic pulsations assist with defining the themes throughout the journey.
As the title suggests, ‘Approach to Anima’ is not intended to be a terminus; it’s merely the beginning of an exploration. The three childhood friends that comprise Maya Ongaku are always looking beyond the confines of the idyllic but rapidly gentrifying enclave of their beloved Enoshima. Feeding off the energy that still radiates from the triumphant, decade-long journey of their label bosses’ band Kikagaku Moyo, who Maya Ongaku supported at their final show in Tokyo last year, they hope to go wherever inspiration takes them, to anywhere around the globe where their music can find a home.
Ultimately, Maya Ongaku’s uninhibited world-building will make it possible for us to see the unseen, expand the possibilities of the naked eye—all through the unbridled vibrancy of their music.
‘Approach to Anima’ track list:
3. Description Of A Certain Sound
5. Something In The Morning Rain
7. Water Dream
8. Pillow Song