Lionmilk, “O.T.S.”
By John Morrison · August 23, 2021 Merch for this release:
2 x Vinyl LP, Cassette

Lionmilk is the alias of producer and composer Moki Kawaguchi who has lately been responsible for some of the most intriguing music coming out of the Los Angeles jazz and beat scenes. Recorded during Backbeat L.A.’s monthly improv session “On The Spot,” O.T.S. not only showcases Kawaguchi’s skill as a player, it also introduces listeners to the talents of the Lionmilk Quartet and their imaginative take on contemporary fusion. Rounded out by Will Logan on drums, Caleb Buchanan on bass, and Diego Gaeta’s delightfully trippy synthesizers, the album is a varied and exciting listen.

Because it’s a live recording, O.T.S. feels raw and dynamic—the opening of “Welcome Back” swells amidst the crowd chatter and scattered cheers. From there, the band launches into a cascade of abstract, cosmically-flavored jazz, which leads directly into “Take A Breath,” a bright and optimistic piece anchored by Kawaguchi’s melody and a bouncy groove from Logan and Buchanan. Whether it’s the ominous and chaotic sound of ”Moki’s Dark Side” or the busy, head-nodding groove of “Dead Inside,” the Lionmilk Quartet reminds listeners of improvised music’s potential for conjuring something both magical and unique.

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