Boomkat Product Review:
In collaboration with Markus Acher’s Alien Transistor label, Morr Music presents a collection of hard-to-find Japanese independent music, compiled by Saya, who plays with Ueno Takashi in the iconic duo Tenniscoats. They are part of a current music scene, which is little known outside of Japan. „Minna Miteru“ focuses on that very scene: the featured bands and musicians share a certain idea of DIY, and are also connected through frequent collaborations and mutual appreciation.
The following notes were written by Markus Acher, who also plays with Saya & Ueno in the band Spirit Fest:
"In 2018 I was sitting in the Tenniscoats’ kitchen with beer and music, looking at Ueno’s wonderful risograph songbook ‘Minna Miteru’ (Everybody Watch) which collects the lyrics and chords of their friends’ songs alongside his own illustrations, when Saya suggested putting together a compilation of these and other songs for our label. I couldn’t have been happier, this sounded like a dream to me.
My first encounter with the Tenniscoats’ own music and their label Majikick was through finding the compilation ‘Songs for Nao’ (Chapter Music, 2004), which totally changed my way of listening to music. I had never heard any music like this before – very intimate, but melodic and experimental at the same time. It sounded like freedom, free from expectations, free from the fear of failing, and never afraid of beauty. They just do what they like, and sometimes it sounds like the Beatles and Albert Ayler at the same time. Beautiful and wild.
Since then I have tried to get every Tenniscoats release, following Majikick and connected labels like Pong-Kong, 7ep or Sweet Dreams Press, learning that from Germany, without speaking Japanese, this is not so easy.
But now here is „Minna Miteru“, a compilation of recent Japanese indie-music. And I’m very happy about it, because although there have been many great reissues of 70s and 80s Japanese music recently, most contemporary Japanese independent bands and artists are hardly known outside of Japan and so it’s hard to find their music. And I couldn’t think of a better guide to this special scene than Saya, whose love, dedication and personal selections have made this such a unique and beautiful compilation.
You’ll hear some of the Tenniscoats’ closest friends and collaborators (Eddie Marcon, Yumbo, Yuko Ikema), but also artists they are fans of, like the legendary Jun Konagaya (aka Grim) and many befriended bands that form a scene of uncategorisable outsiders in pop, like the one-man-orchestra Ichi, the trumpet-trumpet-organ-trio Popo, the mysterious psychedelic songwriter Aritomo and the pianist/electronic musician Ytamo. So many beautiful surprises: melodicas, electronics, folk-songs, brass bands, sound-experiments and melodies, melodies, melodies... Every song a treasure, exploding with ideas, and me personally, I could listen to the Tenniscoats and Yumbo collaboration and Zayaendo’s ‘Hiyodori’ forever on repeat.”