compiled by Nicholas D. Kent
email: ndkent "at" optonline.net
Last updated 05.2.14
Ron Kane provided substantial
info for this page.
He also wrote a Nakanishi profile published in Giant Robot Magazine #4
JN: is info supplied by Jay Novello
Thanks to Terry Green, Rodney Alan Greenblat , Buggle
Jun Okamoto (JO) has a web page with info on a bunch of interesting artists including the Plastics.
(*) means I don't own this album
and never listened to it
(@) means I've listened to this album but don't own it
TYCOON TO$H's SONIC FORCE label
Probably a short overview is in order. The Plastics were a short lived band (1979-81 professionally, though the formed earlier ) whose members (for their prime recording era)were Chica Sato (vox), Toshio Nakanishi (vox/guitar/perc), Hajime Tachibana (vox/guitar), Masahide Sakuma (synth/production) and Takemi Shima (rhythm). Often shortening their names to just chica, toshi, hajime, ma-chan and shima.
The legend though its probably retold so many times its not 100% accurate goes something like Toshi? was doing designs for a book being made for Talking Heads' Japanese tour and slipped David Byrne their demo tape. David Byrne was very amused and sent it to the B-52's manager since their style was rather similar and he promptly signed on to be their manager too. They played shows in NYC and got an international deal with Island Records before internal conflicts forced them to break up.
After the split in '81,Tachibana had a solo career and often just persued graphic design.Toshi and Chica became somewhat U.K. based, were a couple and married for quite some time and formed Melon and Water Melon (Water Melon did exotica tunes during the same period in Japan [1982-] with a different lineup than Melon), Water Melon went dormant for years then recorded some new ones in the UK recently with a different membership, whereas Melon continued on a few years then went dormant) Included at times as members (but not necessarily both bands as full time members) were Yann Tomita, who is well known for making exotica style albums. Gota Yashiki (home page) on drums, who has a high profile career in the UK (Simply Red, Sinead O'Connor, Bomb the Bass). KUDO, a DJ, also joined and continues to work with Toshi on later projects like Love T.K.O. and Skylab. Chica seems to have split up with Toshi by the late 90s and hasn't done musical projects that we know about in quite a while.
The Plastics reunited around 1989 for some 10th anniversary live shows though no commercial recordings came out. For their 20th there was a tribute album in which Toshi and Hajime participated.
In 2004 Toshi and Maki Nomiya (ex-Pizzicato Five) formed a group Plastic Sex. They released an album in 7/2005. More info when I get a hold of one.
Watch Out! --There is a country fiddle (american style) player who has a bunch of CDs named Toshiro Nakanishi (or some very similar name) He is someone else with no connection to the Plastics. Toshi of the Plastics does not release albums with his full name (except for a rare cassette mentioned below). Tycoon To$h is one of his more popular stage names.
Top secret man. Great! Very staccato, much like the early B-52s. Fast and funny Technopop stuff mostly in English.
"I developed a suspicius rash on my arm after listening to The Plastics."--Bowie J. Poag
(*) 1979? Rough Trade 7" (UK) RT 030
Paul Rymer writes: Both are definitely different recordings, I have a copy of the 7". Both are on the new compilation CD due out 7/2005 in Japan.
More great material.
(*)1980.6.21 single Invitation 7"
Pate, a non-album b-side was included on the 2004 CD various artists compilation TECHNO POP (BMG # BVC2-31038)
Overseas it's usually called just Plastics. Newly recorded versions of songs from the first 2 albums re-recorded for Island. Faster and tighter. I always thought it was surprising Island would let them re-record Cards without changing the lyrics.
(*)1981 Island (UK) flexi NIP 2
JN: My UK copy of "Welcome Back Plastics" contains a bonus, gorgeous, full-color silkscreened flexidisc featuring "Pate" and "Last Train to Clarksville". It carries a catalog number of NIP 2. Also, the LP comes with a fake Obi -- it doesn't wrap all the way around the LP sleeve, but is worth it for the monochrome-but-larger picture of Chica that's used on the flexi. Your note in the discography about "Cards" made me laugh, because I remember blasting side 1 of the album to a store full of mall shoppers at Christmastime at the record store where I worked at the time (and for many years before and after, unfortunately).
(*)1981 Island (UK) 7" 1-sided limited edition NIP 4
Paul Rynmer: This is the same "Welcome Back Plastics" era recording that was on the flexi disc. It's a bit punchier than the original version from
NK: I would guess that the Plastics more or less duplicated all their catalog somewhat uptempo for Island and since Last Train to Clarksville presumably involved royalties to the original songwriters it was moved to a single.
So what's NIP 3 ?
(*)1981 ISLAND 12" promo PRO-A-955.
Can you call this a "best of" when it contains an entire album intact (Welcome Plastics)? For some unknown reason the first 2 albums were not out on CD and this came out instead, which also comtains a chunk of Origato Plastico (and none of the Island Records remakes). The individual albums are finally out on CD now. This has newly designed hi-tech cover art by Tachibana. Nothing is unique to this compilation. Probably out of print.
Good recordings of the Plastic's live. A big revelation is a lengthy instrumental solo in the middle of Robot. Lots of music and even flubs.
Hear an American audience member yell out "We want Pink Lady"
Some early limited edition copies included a short videotape for 200 yen extra.. The LP has some collectable difference to annoy also.
Toshi created an either funny or mean cover with 5 models, some not even Japanese dressed and styled exactly like the band.
They are on the Snakeman Show self titled album (Alfa lp: ALR-28009) perfoming billed as The Crap Heads.
99.4 Sony/Epic ESCB 1979 (cute cat #)
a tribute cover CD with a good crew
Has one of the most minimalist CD covers ever (but contains a flyer with all lyrics and personel). The SPOOZYS do a some serious surf guitar and get the Chica and Toshi vocal inflections down perfect. Yukihiro Fukutomi best known as a DJ has Laila France (Momus' Asian-Parisian find) doing the vocals. Yoshinori Sunahara (ex-Denki Groove) does Kraftwerk-ish things. Low Powers (Tachibana's 90s band) is no longer women, but still does straight forward rock. The P5 track is similar or the same as their previously released cover version (featuring Tachibana on guitar here- actually he's worked with Buffalo Daughter and Spoozys too on other releases). Tosh 'Posh' Skylab is a new (Spicy?) name for Toshi solo, he sounds desolate like the song's name. The other 3 Plastics don't participate.
(*) 04.02.24 DVD DEBP-13020
Live DVD from the 80s. Recently issued but I'm not seeing it available anymore a year after release.
new band who played in October 2004, Maki Nomiya (ex Pizzicato Five) +Toshi Nakanishi. Hajime Tachibana and possibly other ex-memebers seem to be guests. Album due 2005.7
Snakeman Show was a comedy project produced by Moichi Kuwahara. They used original music by several well known acts.
JN: Melon does the ubiquitous Honey Dew and I Will Call You (and Other Famous Last Words). But these appear to be different versions --they feature Kate, Cindy and Keith from the B-52's and Adrian Belew, who are not on the original Do You Like Japan? album.
Another Snakeman show appearance is on YANAKOMARITAI (ALCA-9084/5) (*)
cassette included in the magazine. similar in style to the material on the following Do you like Japan.
This was their first full length album. Guests are Tsuchiya, Japan, Takahashi, Hosono (his stunning funk bass stands out). All sorts of styles, very different from the Plastics. The original CD was said to be mastered poorly. Many but not all tracks are on Shinjiku Blade Runner
1. Do You Like Japan?
P.J. stands for Perky Jean, a line of cosmetics.
is actually O. D. (Optimistic Depression), the second song on Do You Like Japan?, with different lyrics. (info: JN) included on Shinjiku Bladerunner
1983 Alfa cd: ALCA-18, ALCA-9080
reissued 2003 as MHCL-326 Pithecanthropus No Gyakushu filed under SNAKEMAN SHOW as the artist
one side Melon ("disco") one side Watermelon (exotica). Plenty of comedy numbers on the first half, often in English. The second side is exotica with a Nino Rota theme from Fellini's Casanova (the movie scene depicts sex with a mechanical puppet) plus a couple Les Baxter numbers popularized by Denny. "Fly Me To The Moon" has lyrics beeped out. This album is similar in concept to YMO's "X00 Multiplies" . The LP is shorter in length than the cassette. The CD uses the longer cassette version edit list.
Deep Cut1987 CBS/Sony cd: 32DP 761, Epic UK lp: EPC 450513.2
Melon lineup: Toshi, Chica, Kudo, Gota. London recorded. Fantastic album in a sort of Blade Runner in Hawaii style. All English lyrics. Includes a new version of Quiet Village.
(*)1987 12" CBS/Sony 12AP 3309
Hard Core Hawaiian (Def Jam Mix) c/w Hawaiian Break (Def Jam Mix) / Hard Core Hawaiian (Stuupid! 4trax Mix)
Funkasia (6:00) / Only Tonight (5:56),
(*)1987 CBS (UK) 12": MELON T1.
Towa Tei, Bomb the Bass, Toshi, Kudo, Yann Tomita, Howie B, Satoshi Tomiie, Fujiwara & D.M.X.
The full album remixed. This seems to be more of a remake than a remix. For example Toshi seems to be laying down new vocals. Not much Chica :(
A music video version of the album was also released.
Includes several obscure tracks on CD for the first time. This is all compiled from their earlier Alfa and TRA and homework releases
Both the CD and LP edition are out of print
also contains a hidden backwards instrumental + the old and still infamous topless Chika photo appears on the cover
(*) 97/4 12" Alfa MEL-1
limited ed. & seldom seen 12" EP version
Ron Kane: (looks like it was pressed in the US, no printed cover, only a white sleeve with a sticker with titles) These 6 tracks were all that was on the advance cassette. When Shinjuku Bladerunner arrived, it was a surprise to me (as it had songs not on advance cassette) (it adds "Do You like Japan?" songs, ...and the TRA cassette sing Corazon de melon etc).
Water Melon Group
Cool Music1984 Alfa lp: 28060, cd:ALCA9168 , reissued 2005
The group is Nakanishi, Yann Tomita, Seiichi Takahashi, Vagabond Suzuki, Gota Yashiki. Chica on one track. Includes 2 Les Baxter pieces and Never On Sunday with naughty lyrics. (I understand the song first appeared in was a 1960s sex comedy - though popular films and songs back then couldn't have gotten away with that language) Exotica in the Technopop style.
New material. The band is Andrew Hale, K.U.D.O., Toshio Nakanishi. Gota appears on 1 track. Ron Kane wrote the album notes. Rich exotica ambient stuff.
Out of Body Sessions97.7.26 File/Major Force MFCD-064 lp:MFAD-62
remixes by Stock Hausen & Walkman, Silver Apples and the standout, a string section arrangement by Everton Nelson (Sakamoto's 1996 collaborator). Gear spotters will enjoy the the coveted and ancient Fairchild 670 on the back cover. I doubt they are using it since the photo comes from a book or ad.
(@)99.5.29 Major Force/File cd MFCD-067
Now the lineup is just Hale (Ando) and Nakanishi (Tosh)+ guests. Lots of vocal contributions from Yuka Ikushima who sounds slightly Akiko Yano-ish. Some guests are KUDO and Tim Simmenon (Bomb the Bass)
99.9.30 Major Force/File cd MFCD-068
contains some live tracks from a show called TYCOON TOSH CIRCUS and some remixes of Field Trip
Collaborated on the Plastics. The main force behind Melon, Water Melon and plenty more acts. Married to Chica but has since split up.
TYCOON TO$H KINGDOM (in Japanese)
He has a new label with an official site SONIC FORCE (English & Japanese)
He did a pile of releases under all sorts of names. Here are some I don't have. (*)
as Tycoon To$h & Terminator Troops (hardcore rap)
One promininant remix he worked on was PRMX, a Puffy(amiyumi) remix
Compilation of tracks includes Tycoon To$h & Terminator Troops, Hiroshi + K.U.D.O. featuring D.J.Milo from London, The Orchids (Chica is a member), Tiny Panx (Kan Takagi, Hiroshi Fujiwara)
Lyrics from Guess What?:
TO$H on the mic - I won't smell - 'cause I wear Channel
Has some amusing moments including Copy '88, an update of the Plastics song Copy.
(*)1990 Major Force Compact Vol 2 Major Force cd: 28F019D
99.11.8 Mo'Wax (UK)
from the press release: Major Force West 93-97 tidies some of this prolific activity into a single compilation of essential beats and wild sounds. Some of the music was recorded in the legendary Major Force bunker in Mo' Wax's Mortimer Street offices, while other tracks date from a session at Mario Caldato's House Of Hits which took place in late '95, and which included contributions from "Money" Mark Nishita. In the words of Tycoon Tosh himself : "this album's idea was like electronic sounds and heavy breakbeats. John Cage, Stockhausen, Perrey and Kingsley - only funky. But it ended up with some Indian or Oriental spice on top, very Pink Floyd of the 90s. I was listening to Van Dyke Parks and Pet Sounds, Silver Apples and obscure Ry Cooder records - result is very fucked up ... weird sounds."
many thanks to Chris Sharp
A different Toshi led Exotica project, recorded in Indonesia. Nice. Some tracks are pretty strait, though some get unusual with Kudo beats.
A Toshi r&b soul project.
With Howie B. I didn't find this very interesting. Various female vocalists. Neither accomplished enough, nor over the top, nor cynical enough to get my attention.
Ron Kane tells me this is the same contents as the Japanese release
this is retro/exotica/ambient with Nakanishi, Water Melon and a number of mostly Japanese bands. loads of fun. Includes one of the first appearances of the Fantastic Plastic Machine. Also early appearances of Ahh! Folly Jet (formerly of A.D.S.) and Chari Chari. Except for the openner, most of this seems fairly exclusive . Though Howard Greenberg recognizes much of this material from a Japanese compilation turn the knob
James Bond meets Acid Jazz. Doesn't quite cut it. They don't do actual James Bond covers, so it's kind of an ersatz excercise. The Achilles heel I feel is the composition level and musicmanship of John Barry in the 1960s was so high that this inspired by material just doesn't hold a candle (vodka martini shaken, not stirred?) to it, though I guess it now holds up better as each new Bond movie comes out with increasingly mundane music.
bands are: Spacer, Dobie, Natural 7, Chari Chari, Sie, Daddy Long Legs, Nakanishi & Bernstein, Kensuke Shiina, Dr. Zaius, Minatone, Naked Funk, Headrillaz, Love T.K.O., Typhoon Tosh
The theme to this double CD or LP seems to be porn. It was U.S. released also. You have to wade through a lot of it to get at any good parts. ahem
bands are: Love TKO, Kensuke Shiina, Daddylonglegs, Roudoudou, Tiff McGinnis + 3 Wheels Out, Fantastic Plastic Machine, Sielab, Nick Faber, Lego, Sie, Deadly Avenger, Hyper Crad, Tim 'Love' Lee, Howie B., DJ Miku, Chari Chari, Spacer, Inevidence, Naked Funk
Heart Of Stone - A Tribute To Brian Jones
(*) 02.08.20 Teichiku TECN-25823
Ron Kane writes:
With 5 cuts from The Mugen Byblos = Toshio Nakanishi and Kenji "Jammer" Suzuki; Toshi is singing again! Factory Girl, Gomper, 2,000 Light Years From Home, Child Of The Moon and Memo From Turner! According to the obi, looks like the same team did a Hendrix Tribute CD, but I cannot confirm any Toshi involvement.
Debbie Sanders does the vocals, (IMHO Chica's talents are sadly missing as of the 90s). 5 tracks. Includes re-mixes by Sabres of Paradise and Nobukazu Takemura.
Full album. Mid 90s UK style-ambience. Interesting stuff, though not Japanese sounding.
The track Exotika exists as a 12"
also on CD with different mixes. No Howie B starting with this one
3 song EP. Sort of anti-Xmas as far as Ican tell. Noisy, lumps of coal.
Another 3 track hodgepodge of club type sounds. Listenable but not memorable at all
I heard mention of a Skylab #2 band which are the other guys besides Toshi and Kudo.
former member of the Plastics and a producer most notably of the hugely successful Judy and Mary
Seigèn Ono produced . Quirky Satie like electronics. Quite a jem. Includes the Third Man Theme. A real find. Part of the Music Interior series.
Sakuma produced 10 Palettes
and Retinae for Dip In The Pool and P-MODEL's
auspicious debut In A Model Room and a number of other artists
albums since. Some of his 90s concept band are NiNa and the d.e.p. (see below)
other albums- (info from Buggle)
(*) Sozo No Niwa De (1991)
(*) Replay (1991)
(*) Sane Dream (1992)
99.11.1 SONY SRCL4653
A new pretty much one time only band with Kate Pierson (vo) from the B52s, Yuki (vo) from Judy and Mary , Masahide Sakuma (g, kbd,b, programming) , Takemi Shima (conceptual and visual agent provocateur), Mick Karn (ex-Japan bassist), Steven Wolf (NY session drummer); produced by Masahide Sakuma and Tom Durack.
Some fine duet singing and energetic performances. It starts kind of Plastics/B52s reminicent but doesn't stay that way, probably to its detriment. I thought the openning track was pretty catchy but as a whole I expected more and was dissappointed. Actually the album is even a bit long.
There are at least 2 singles. They seemed to contain instrumental mixes besides songs on this album.
kitanaka masakazu reminded me I forgot to mention this release! :-)
Sakuma had a new act called D.E.P. with Vivian Hsu as lead and some familiar names backing-- Masami Tsuchiya, Goto Yashiki, Mick Karn. This seems to be, like NiNa, a one album project. The name stands for Doggy Eels Project.
One thing I noticed is back around 1999 or so Taiwanese singer/actress/model Vivian Hsu found her way into an existing Sony label J-Pop called Black Biscuits and had a #1 hit only after her joining that band. I don't know the details on D.E.P. but I'd think someone was thinking lightning might strike twice. I also noticed just from the album cover and publicity maybe Vivian Hsu wanted to play up her musicality and play down her being one of the most beautiful woman in all asia - judging from what little publicity I've seen from this project (for instance her face is cropped out of the back photo). I had heard second hand that the music was dissapointing and I know it wasn't a big chart hit but upon finally hearing it I thought it was quite good listening and shows a lot of talent rather than being prefabricated pop. I guess I came to this one expecting something somewhat lame and it turned out quite good (and I must give props to Vivian Hsu's music abilities) and NiNa was the opposite.
former member of the Plastics. He's always had a professional foot in the graphic design world so years will go by with no music from him and somtimes he'll release something sort of confounding, other times brilliant.
All the YEN label material including rare singles were reissued on a pair of massive and now out of print YEN BOX boxed sets
First solo album. Produced by Yukihiro Takahashi who writes a track. Hosono and Takahashi play on a bunch of cuts. Sakamoto shows up on 2 and composes the music on them (without HH or YT). Ueno is also around and writes a track. Lots of sax. Tachibana plays a sculpture he built and is featured on the cover. More avant and jazzy than his later albums.
(*) 1982 promo 7" YEN-104
AFAIK promo but not different
Takahashi produced. A top notch album that is mostly sax quartet and rhythm. Sort of big band meets Philip Glass music. A very unusual technopop sound. An arrangement of RS's Arrangement. Unlike the other YT produced albums, YT does not usually do the drums, which are more big-band like this time. The last track is a cover from an Isao Tomita soundtrack theme.
(@) 83 .5.28 alfa 7" YLR-705
AFAIK not different
Takahashi produced with Fuji and Iio. Guest Ueno. Very quirky, as usual Plenty of samples this time. Includes everything from hard technopop to disturbing slow motion gospel.
J.B. as in James Brown samples. Edited Remix by Holgar Hiller & Techies (Tachibana, Fuji, Iio) The other two tracks were released prior on albums. Nothing special.
Two mixes are on Yen Box Vol.1 Bonus Disc
TRA Version Type B (originally from a magazine cassette) and Remix Version and an edit version on YEN Box vol2
The theme is a different version from the album. B is a non-album track. available on YEN BOX 1 & 2
As usual, when an Alfa artist departs, one or several "best of" albums come out, even if they only did a couple albums. I think they have another best of album out also.
A couple Mark Mothersbaugh tunes. Very fast tempo and sampled brass all over the place. Real interesting but the original instrumentals wear you out after a while. 2 songs, both good, the other 7 are instrumentals.
One side of this 12" is an engraved artwork by Anime legend Osamu Tezuka! In other words, an engraving is on one side no record grooves. Different versions of the tracks Beauty and then Modern things. The latter is acoustic on this release. Both are excellent.
Includes a live version of The Girl from Ipanema. Similar concept, different versions but this time on both sides of the vinyl :-)
This is the above 2 single-only releases combined on one CD
Not to be confused! This is a full album. I almost thought this was a best of compilation. It is not. Several co-compositions with Mothersbaugh. Akiko Yano on 1 cut. The material is not as good as on prior albums. Less focus, the melodies are not up to previous levels.
Produced with Towa Tei. Indian pop music and a theme called Bambi run throughout. . Possibly out of print. Loads of fun. His cover version of Hugo Montenegro's Moog Power appears on the recent compilation Sushi 3003. Hideki Matsutake sequences on a track. While not illustrated on the album, elsewhere Tachibana did many illustrations of himself as an electric guitar playing half man half Bambi centaur around this time. I'd suspect legal issues with Disney prevented the album appearance of the image. A follow up track of this concept appears on Tei's Future Listening
(*)1992 cd: Alfa/Spin ALCA-319
This was part of a remix series of mini albums where Alfa sent medleys of all their still popular acts out to mostly U.K. remixers and released a short album of each with no participation we know of from the original artist. According to Ron Kane this one is the most rare. I for one have never seen it. Perhaps it was withdrawn or pressed in lower numbers?
During his hiatus from recording a bunch of indie acts made and released (@) Sun Sun Sun... Hajime Tachibana Tribute Album. (1995) - Acts participating (that I've heard of) are Yoshihide Otomo and B-2 DEP'T. I caught it in shops back then.
For his first solo recording in years Tachibana baffles and confuses with a series of simple electric piano solos of his compositions played by Tatsuro Kondo. No other instrumentation.
Hajime Tachibana &
Another frusterating item. Taken on it's own it's quite listenable, but it's not exactly what Tachibana fans are craving for. This time Tachibana puts together a back to basics rock band, Low Powers, made up of four women, including a 14 year old lead vocalist. If he were doing some sort of concept with not quite pro musicians, then it's odd that professional level musician Yumiko Ohno (of Buffalo Daughter, Astro Age Steel Orchestra and ex-Havana Exotica) is a Low Power while the others might be amateurs (I don't know who the others are). Tachibana writes most of the tunes. Some small appearances by Tachibana on some songs. Mark Mothersbaugh's song Goo Goo Itch is performed.
thanks to Terry green
Since the last Low Powers he did a cover of I Am Plastic for the Plastics Children tribute album with a no longer female Low Powers lineup, guests on guitar the Spoozys album Astro 99 and guests on sax on a Buffalo Daughter 7" single Sax, Drugs and Rock & Roll (only available as a U.S. single)
This is an ad for Hajime Tachibana's "The End" from Ron Kane's collection. It appears to be posponed and eventually released in July 2002 as a Tower Records Bounce release. It seems to be a CD with multimedia screensavers and a limited edition LP. Yokoo did the illustration. suGar from Buffalo Daughter appears on the first track playing guitar but the bulk of the album is mobile phone ring tone music. Very minimal.
this one is totally bizarre...i got the vinyl... basically sounds
like mobile phone ring tones
the cover is a reference to the tadanori yokoo/ichiyanagi double album from '71 "music from the operas of tadanori yokoo" which was on "the end" label.
it is completely confounding.
BACK TO MAIN MENU