Some time in the early 00s John Chantler, who was living in Japan at the time, sent me a couple of curious sound pieces he’d just recorded with musicians he’d met from Tokyo - Tenniscoats. This was my first introduction to Saya and Ueno, who have subsequently gone on to become longtime friends and a wellspring of sonic inspiration.
In 2005, through their connections to Guy Blackman in Melbourne, Tenniscoats under took a tour of Australia and as part of that visit I arranged a concert for them in Brisbane. Their show, held at Rics Cafe in Fortitude Valley, was a wildly-flowing flux of song, improvisation and sheer melodic freedom. Following the performance Saya, Ueno and drummer Yoshinari Kishida spent a few additional days in Brisbane, and it’s during this time that the majority of Totemo Aimasho was recorded.
The recording itself took place in a reappropriated office building, where my friend Heinz Riegler had set up a small recording space. We were able to use the various offices as somewhat isolated recording zones. The results were surprisingly rich, a testament to office room design I suppose.
For this special 15th anniversary edition, I spent some time going back over the recordings to remaster them. This version is perhaps a bit more faithful to the dynamics of those sessions. I also spent some days going through archival materials that were not included in the original Totemo Aimasho sessions. To my surprise I found a couple of demo versions of Cacoy, one of my favourite pieces from the record, as well as some variations of other album pieces and also a couple of experiments not included on the record.
There’s a certain radiant joy to this music. The record is equal parts curiosity, porousness and generosity. It's a mixed methodology that informed this collaboration, and equally the creation of Totemo Aimasho itself.
I want to send a special note of thanks to John, without whom this project, and many subsequent other connections, would not have occurred.
released September 8, 2023
Produced by Lawrence English and John Chantler with Tenniscoats
Drums, Percussion, Tape, Synth – John Chantler
Flute – Carina Thorén
Guitar, Saxophone, Synthesizer [Unisynth], Vocals – Ueno Takashi
Synthesizer, Electronics, Effects [Field Recordings] – Lawrence English
Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Bass – Saya
Drums - Yoshinari Kishida (2, 5, 6, 11)
Koji Shibuya - Melodica (15,16)
Track 3 (Cacoy) is dedicated to DJ Klock.
Cover drawing by Ueno
Inner sleeve photo by Eddie