Bewitching avant-pop album from impromptu supergroup built around acclaimed Japanese duo, Tenniscoats. Aside from being the name of an influential Tokyo-based duo, Tenniscoats represents fun, artistic freedom, experimentation, and inclusivity. In the world of Tenniscoats, music can happen anywhere, and everyone is invited to join in. During the winter of 2016, the music happened in Munich. As a long-time fan, Markus Acher (Notwist) jumped at the chance not only to put Tenniscoats on the bill at the Alien Disko festival he was organizing, but also to invite Saya and Takashi to a small apartment studio, together with Mat Fowler (Jam Money), and Cico Beck (Aloa Input, Notwist).
This is where Spirit Fest was recorded over the following 14 days. Tenniscoats are known for their collaborations - some of their finest work was done in conjunction with Tape, The Pastels, Jad Fair, and many others. Fowler recalls the Spirit Fest sessions taking place in an idyllic, festive atmosphere: "Every morning we'd all share breakfast, chat, and learn about German Christmas customs. We'd catch the bus in the morning and walk home in the evening. The journey ran parallel to the beautiful flowing Isar River that bubbles, ebbs and flows right through the middle of Munich."
While Tenniscoats sit at the heart of proceedings, it isn't their album alone. Markus, Mat, and Cico also brought songs, providing a solid base on top of which the artistry could evolve. Mat explains, "a melody would begin, and slowly, each of us - in our own time - would find our way into the music. Producer Tadklimp would sensitively set-up around us in this narrow window of time, so as to document that first and intuitive moment of collective discovery." "Nearly everything was recorded live," agrees Markus, "playing and singing together in one room with piano, guitars, percussion and some keyboards."
The collaborators came from Germany, Japan, the UK, Greece and beyond. From the tender beauty of Markus's "River River" and Saya's "Mikan" to the electro-Merseybeat of Tenniscoats' "Nambei," and the half-crazed pianica-reggae of "Shuti Man," the resulting album is a testament to the manner of which these musicians are able to channel their songwriting through their spontaneity. It's also a snapshot of a gentle and intuitive moment in time.