Enoshima psych-folk collective Maya Ongaku offer unbridled vibrancy on debut LP, Approach to Anima

Hailing from the seaside communities surrounding Enoshima, a small island located 50 km southwest of Tokyo, newcomers Maya Ongaku are a must for Kikagaku Moya and Orion’s Belte fans. Psychedelic wooziness, gentle folk-pop, and meditative folk-jazz set the tone for their laid-back tunes. You’ll find eight of these hypnotic recordings on the trio’s recently released debut album, Approach to Anima.

Behind bustling, touristy riverside Subana Street is a studio tucked away in the back of the Ace General Store. This is where the trio of childhood friends—Tsutomu Sonoda on guitar and vocals, Ryota Takano on bass, and Shoei Ikeda on percussion and synth, recorded their debut album. Seemingly without a care, the trio coasts unhurriedly, reminding us that remarkable things can come from a leisurely approach. The album’s dreamy, relaxed atmosphere reflects their island home. It’s a sound best described as a ‘vacation for the ears’.

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 of the energy that still radiates from the triumphant, decade-long journey of their label bosses’ band Kikagaku Moyo, who rose to global prominence from scrappy beginnings busking on the streets of Takadanobaba, they hope to go wherever inspiration takes them to anywhere around the globe where their music can find a home.

For us, the second track, ‘Nuska,’ is our favourite. It’s a psych-folk party where gentle woodwinds, cosy guitar chords, peaceful percussion, and subtle field recordings are warmly invited. The slow-building, sax-laden ‘Approach’ is another highlight. As are the aptly named ‘Water Dream’, recent single ”Melting’ and the fluffy closer ‘Pillow Song’.

We have an idea if you’re ever having one of those rough days and need music to chill out! Why not make Approach to Anima your go-to soundtrack for those moments? We definitely will!

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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