Boomkat Product Review:
Room 40 celebrate cult Japanese duo Tenniscoats' fab 'Totemo Aimasho' full-length with a remastered, beefed up 15th anniversary reissue, adding some extra variations and demo versions that weren't included on the original version.
Since 2000, Saya and Ueno Takashi have been releasing music that defies conventional logic; on the surface it feels like folk or stripped-down pop, but the songs unwind unexpectedly, fraying into wyrd ambience or abstract minimalism. Collaborators and guests come and go, but Saya and Ueno's core philosophy is always present, always flickering at the forefront. Lawrence English originally released 'Totemo Aimasho' on Room40 back in 2007, having been introduced to Tenniscoats by John Chantler, who had come across the duo in Tokyo and been inspired to work with them. Chantler plays drums, tape and synths on the album, and his partner Carina Thorén plays flute, while English himself contributes synths, electronics and field recordings. Additional drums are handled by Yoshinari Kishida, and Koji Shibuya plays melodica, leaving Saya to work on vocals, piano, keys and bass, and Ueno to play guitar, sax, unisynth and backing vocals.
For this special anniversary edition, English didn't just work on a "more faithful" remaster, but went back to the archive of recordings he'd collected at the time. He found some demos of 'Cacoy', one of his favorite tracks, and a few other variations and experiments, blessing the album's original 12 tracks with four extra pieces. The new version stands as a definitive edition of a record we already loved, and it still sounds singular years later. Saya and Ueno's passion for experimentation and improvisation lifts each gentle composition into the clouds, from the hypnotic, synth led 'Jitsurei' to the rattly folk jam 'Midori'. There's a rough, DIY quality to the music, but it's not sketchy; the duo's vision is self-contained, and their intermingling of lilting, softly-sung vocals and adventurous instrumentation is psychedelic and challenging enough to keep us engrossed after hearing it countless times. Just beautiful, timeless music - if you haven't heard it before, now's yr chance.