This tape arrived in its beautiful aqua shell with zero info. Who is Clive Tanaka? Where is he from? Etc. etc. All questions I have no answers for. It took me a little while to figure what label it's on too as its printed pretty small.
So, anyway, when I first popped this in I was at my old job doing some brain numbing data entry and I'll be damned if that wasn't the most fun I've ever had crunching numbers. I've got no idea whether Clive Tanaka is being sincere or tongue-in-cheek here but the first side of this tape is the cheesiest, most amazing dance-pop I've heard in some time. The first side, subtitled "For Dance", consists of four tracks. Opener "All Night, All Right" is a great example as he pulls out all the fucking stops! More fucking vocoder than necessary including some sort of guttural "funky clav" setting, piano melodies sit along side the bevy of synths, the rhythms are relentlessly buoyant. It's just nuts. Tanaka seems to be synthesizing dance music of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s into something specially designed for the year 2010, and beyond. "I Want You (So Bad)" is probably the best but its hard say. Again this thing is just fucking dripping with synth melodies, filtered guitar fills, I hear Daft Punk in this; I hear "Love is a Battlefield" in this; I hear Boney M in this and its all so goddamn awesome! Tanaka out-Ettingers Dylan Ettinger with a stinging guitar solo evoking an image of Miami Vice so rich you can feel the fucking stubble. When he pulls out the congas for the breakdown and borrows the synth melody from Ja Rule's "New York" it's just too much man. The track just keeps going and going as Tanaka spins gold out of thin air with every new bridge and breakdown. This guy has to be OCD with the insane detail and complexity he weaves into this. It's staggering. "Neu Chicago" is a more breezy jam, total island flavor. All sorts of conch shell xylophone synths, killer reversed guitar solo, male/female vocal duet and big, bold drums. Evoking a vintage Madonna vibe at first, "Brack Lain" comes alive with soft, chilly synths before pulling some kind of Oakenfold action movie bass line and then shifting gears again to an excellent neo-disco stomp with occasional flashes of that second Dr. Octagon album. Tanaka even whips out an Asian flute at one point; this guy puts no boundaries on himself but it never feels like overkill which is pretty crazy. Every new melody, every instrument just heightens the excitement.
I'm less crazy about the second side, subtitled "For Romance." "Skinjob" is another mellow island jam with upright bass and echoing organ and guitar. "International Heartbreaker" has a nice string and brass section among other things but its feels a bit aimless at times without an energetic beat behind it. "The Fourth Magi" is the weakest here as it sounds bland when placed in such illustrious, imaginative company as the album's other tracks. "Lonely for the High Scrapers" echoes the first side while retaining the mellow vibe of the second. It has vocals which, though a simple addition, helps the music move forward rather than feeling stagnant in its repetition. This side is really just less my speed, I think. The songs are chilled out, which is fine but they don't have the snappiness, crazed desire or inventiveness of the tracks on the first side. They're still well-put together but they fade from memory fairly quickly unlike the first side's jams.
Even though I wasn't that taken with the second side, the first is good enough to warrant a recommendation. If this sounds at all interesting to you, by all means, grab a copy before this guy is going on world tours and lining his hallway with platinum records.