Mirage Mirage


"With Mirage Mirage, avant-pop quintet Spirit Fest gifts their listeners with their richest, deepest record to date. It's no surprise when you consider the group's membership: Saya and Ueno, aka the duo Tenniscoats; Markus Acher, best known as singer of The Notwist; Mat Fowler, who plays with Jam Money and Bons; and Cico Beck, who's making music with Joasinho, Aloa Input, and The Notwist. If that feels like a heavyweight line-up, that's because it is -- yet the overarching mood of Spirit Fest is one of lightness and joy, of experiment and pure pop pleasure. Sessions for the album were split between the Tenniscoats' Tokyo home studio in November 2018, and a small apartment studio in Munich in June 2019. Saya, Ueno and Markus pitched in songs, but sometimes, as with 'Fish With Arms', beguiling moments grew from group improvisations, often kicked off by Cico and Mat. All members stretched their instrumental limbs, too . . . There's a sincere, child-like generosity to the music, and a playfulness with an everyday surrealism you can hear in some of the experimental interjections across the album. Its final sound is the rolling click-clacking of a bicycle wheel. The bike was key to one of Mat's explorations of the Tenniscoats' Tokyo neighborhood . . . Stumbling across art amongst the everyday; that's also core to Spirit Fest . . . There's more here than just avant-pop: see the pronounced folksy lilt to 'The Snow Falls On Everyone'; or 'Mohikone', a gorgeous instrumental, droplets of piano pattering amongst a plangent acoustic guitar. The seven-minute 'Zenbu Honto (Every Thing Is Everything)' is a spiraling psychedelic pop mantra, with field recordings and slithering electronics tracing a path under the scrub-growth of guitar, piano, and drums. There are guest appearances from Micha Acher (The Notwist, Tied & Tickled Trio) on trumpet, and Aiko Okamoto, who takes part in the choral rounds of the album's closing tune, 'Saigo Song'. Whichever way you approach it, though, the guiding force of Spirit Fest is friendship and collaboration, giving life to collective dreaming..." --Jon Dale CD version comes in digipak; includes eight-page booklet.