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  • Filed under: Review
  • 01/11/2011


Clive Tanaka Jet Set Siempre No. 1

Remember tracking Italo-disco producers across cryptic initials on LP jackets? Or trying to figure out which Skam Records releases were by Autechre or Boards of Canada? The pre-Wikipedia era shrouded many new records in a gentle fog of mystery, and Japan's Clive Tanaka is bringing a bit of that mystery back with Jet Set Siempre No. 1. Previously available only as a cassette that could be ordered directly from his website, the album is now available on vinyl and digitally, but there's still precious little info here beyond Tanaka's name, a beachy little cover graphic, and sides a and b designated "For Dance" and "For Romance," respectively.

Even more mysterious: "Su Orquesta" sounds more like Tanaka's vintage synthesizers, vocoder, and laptop (there's no Latin band here), and both sides contain lush, inviting retro electro-pop tracks executed with such style that he's the equal of any '80s pop fetishist working today. "I Want You (So Bad)" is a master class in warm pop melody, passing the torch between synthesizer, understated guitar, and more, as it piles layers of sound into a delicious cake and uses its only lyrics—a vocodered recitation of the title—to create a catchy hook with a Daft Punk-like ease and efficiency.

The flip side of Jet Set drifts away into an easy fog, floating compressed strings over narcotic beats, conjuring a Mediterranean getaway soundtracked by bright township guitars and analog synthesizer washes recorded on an ancient reel-to-reel. More of all of this please, mysterious Mr. Tanaka!

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