Kuunatic at The Soundhouse, 30th August 2018

with Early Remains and Rattle

Reviewed by Kashif Hussain

Coming all the way from Tokyo, all-female experimental trio Kuunatic brought their dreamy psychedelia to Leicester, courtesy of independent live music organisers The Other Window & Magic Teapot, along with some equally unique support.

Starting things off was Early Remains, the one-man project of Ben Moore, who stood on stage before a stack of synthesisers, cables and other assorted gear which he used to create a droning electronic score. Swelling synths and increasingly menacing bass tones called to mind the more ambient side of Nine Inch Nails, specifically the instrumental Ghosts I-IV collection. Projected on the wall behind him was a collection of seemingly random imagery, including landscapes, film footage and bending colours, making it seem as if his abstract music was a soundtrack to the strange slideshow like a surreal art film.

Early Remains Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Nottingham’s avant-garde dual drummers Rattle were up next. Both members, who are also drummers in their own respective bands, are sat on either side of the stage, facing each other with an array of percussion instruments dividing them. Using only drums and vocals they created an intriguing show of co-operation, as their individual beats merged together & layered upon each other to create a single, unified rhythm. On top of this were vocals, mostly wordless, which added another, more human element to their minimalist combines beats.

Watch this video, by Kevin Gaughan, of Rattle performing at this event.

Rattle Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Finally, coming to the stage in matching long black robes and face paint similar to kabuki theatre was Kuunatic, consisting of only a bassist, keyboardist & a drummer. Starting with the song Spiral Halt from their debut EP Kuulandia, which begins with a simple keyboard melody, soon accompanied by steady drums and soft vocals from all three members.

Around two minutes in, the drums start to devolve into a more primitive style as the other two members stop for a moment. Keyboardist Fumie picks up a type of traditional Japanese flute known as a yokobue, creating a trippy blend of oriental woodwind and tribal percussion.

Soon after, the drums are more rhythmic while a bassline starts up, an Eastern-sounding synthesised riff begins, and more vocal harmonies work with each other to make a dreamy yet danceable soundscape, before the keyboards from the beginning resume and the track ends just as it started.

Kuunatic Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Derived from the Finnish word “Kuu”, meaning moon, plus “lunatic”, Kuunatic make it obvious that they’re anything but ordinary musicians. With only the first track they’ve shown a wide range of world music styles with a psychedelic twist, which they expanded upon for the rest of their set.

They played everything that they’ve released, which sadly amounts to only five songs, meaning their set was unfortunately short for a headline act. Their final, unreleased song featured more Japanese traditional elements in the form of synthesised koto and kabuki-esque chanting. While they may not have been on stage for long, their music was enthralling throughout. Hopefully in time they’ll return with much longer set and an even wider variety of influences.

Watch this video, by Kevin Gaughan, of Kuunatic performing at this event.

Kuunatic Photo: Kevin Gaughan