Expanded vinyl edition of previously tape-only lost techno-pop classic from Tokyo/1984 - coming with an additional fifty minutes plus of unreleased archival music from the original recording sessions.
Artwork by the acclaimed book designer Luke Bird and liner notes by the artist. 300 copies (180g).
A Japanese synth curio? A lost techno-pop classic? So might run the standard view of the electronic album Boku・Neko・Platanus, recorded in 1984 by Shinichi Omata. The facts point that way. The futuristic Platonische Liebe and Omata’s technodelic take on the traditional Greek folk track Egyptische Knabe are timeless electro tracks with a radically simple pop concept and robotic flavour that closely echo Japan’s most recognisable exports from the era.
But, focusing only on such fragments misses the greater charms of the album – an argument made more convincing by the inclusion in this expanded edition of an archive of unreleased material from the original recording period. The music spans an unusually broad and contrasting range of influences, exploring the possibilities of mood music, imaginary soundtracks and pop dissonance. How Omata transformed this vast range of influences into synth pop is the real magic here.
In Japan, Omata is largely known only to electronic music enthusiasts and connoisseurs as a member of the cult synth-pop outfit DEA, whose Metaphysical Popwas released in 1985 on LLE, a sub-label of Marquee Moon Records, itself an offshoot of the notable experimental music magazine of the same name. Yet he is the mastermind behind a daring techno-pop sound that has remained almost entirely hidden for nearly 40 years.
Boku・Neko・Platanus was originally issued on cassette in extremely limited numbers (25 only – released by the Tokyo-based Indian grocery store, Ganso Nakaya Mugendo, located in the Koenji district of the city) so much so, that it’s incredible it ever came to light at all. What we can hear across the expanded edition is not only a highly skilful instrumentalist at the peak of his powers, but also a daring experimentalist, who employed emerging computer and synth technology in innovative ways, and revitalised old school music by adapting it into contemporary settings.
“This was the kind of music I had always wanted to try”, he recalls in our sleevenote interview. Omata’s angle was that he was writing modern music, informed by contemporary developments elsewhere but without the stiffness of the formal academic scene. It’s all pop as far as he’s concerned.