Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr “Sometimes it sounds like the Beatles and Albert Ayler at the same time.” That’s how Markus Acher, who plays with Tenniscoats members Saya and Takashi Ueno, affectionately describes his bandmates’ remarkable alchemy, and that’s a good way to sum up the heights of Minna Miteru. In collaboration with Acher’s label Alien Transistor and Morr Music, Saya has compiled two delightful CDs worth of 21st-century Japanese DIY that even has occasional audible tape hiss to get you in the C90 mood. Tenniscoats members and their friends turn up throughout the 90-minute set, with varied approaches that come together to form a unified sound. Takashi, the duo’s guitarist, opens things up with “Hasunosu Tr.06,” which consists of Fripp-like abstract guitar overdubs. The sound gently shifts to Tenniscoat’s baroque ballad “Shiroimono” and for the rest of the album weaves in and around genres; Takashi Hattori’s “Lost Gray” (one assumes it’s a cat) is a fey, naive instrumental, while Kasumi Trio’s “Persian Rug” is a moody, mesmerizing drone. Tomoaki Saito and Tenco Matsuri’s “To To To” suggests that the duet is a good form for the duality of this music, letting male and female intertwine. This is just one of numerous tracks that come close to that Ayler/Beatles synthesis, at least with the latter’s more absurdist side; it’s as if “Octopus’s Garden” included some childlike free jazzish accompaniment on clarinet. As free as Ayler got, his freedom of expression included not just the expansive searching of “Spiritual Unity” but quotations of “Three Blind Mice,” signaling a return to innocence and purity. The hauntingly beautiful “Toratolion” comes from the band Eddie Marcon, which has been around for nearly two decades. Vocalist Eddie Corman is a woman who designs hats and has a sweet, high timbre that soothes the savage breast. There’s something charming about the band’s page still linking to its MySpace site. The instrumental “Hiyodori” by Zayaendo (formed by Saya and Satomi Endo) closes disc one with the album’s equivalent of lazy day Pepper-pomp; brass and ukulele walk a fine line between endearingly fey and affected (the kind of tightrope Sufjan Stevens or Jens Lekman walk) but it’s unassuming enough to fall on the side of, “just relax and enjoy it, it’s pretty.” Cacoy’s “Yoko Majikick Ono,” which comes from a 2003 album, opens up disc two/side three with slightly higher production values and an instrumental that’s more like glitchy EDM. The group consists of Saya and Takashi with DJ Klock, who met the Tenniscoats while they were all students at the same university. So Minna Miteru reflects a like-minded musical community that mixes and matches sounds, Klock’s beats combining with Saya’s keyboards and even a soprano sax solo from Takashi. Minna Miteru is full of goofy invention, like the Andersens’ psychedelic lo-fi gem “The Light Becomes Rain, the Rain Becomes a River, and the Light Becomes Snow.” ICHI’s “Toh Nan Sha Pei,” which dates from 2016, is a showcase for a musician-inventor based in Bristol, England. He makes handcrafted instruments that include a xylophone, trumpet, accordion, contrabass and typewriter, all in bright colors. If the onomatopoeic vocals don’t automatically make you want track down more of his music, the booklet’s accompanying picture of ICHI among his creations will. Some of this may be too cute for school; Urichipangoon’s “Laser Stickers” even invokes unicorns. But this isn’t mass-produced kawaii product; it’s homegrown whimsy. The album takes its name, which translates to Everybody Watch, from an illustrated songbook that Takashi kept of his friends’ music. Saya suggested that Acher turn the collection into an album, and Minna Miteru is the result, with risograph stencil designs approximating the original artifact. Based in Germany, Acher laments that even though reissues of ‘70s and ‘80s Japanese artists has made that music easier to find, the nation’s contemporary indie can be harder to track down. Fans of Light in the Attic’s ‘70s comp Even a Tree Can Shed Tears might find some resonance in the more recent indie-folk here. So pick up this set and follow a new rabbit hole of enchantment, balm for a world on fire.