Fantastic Plastic Machine


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Imaginations finds Tanaka Tomoyuki sticking to the mood of Shibuya-kei, but shifting musically toward dancefloor music, the results being mixed, though the album remains enjoyable. The main body of the project's music on Imaginations is formed of soft beats that slide between simplistic and intricate, shifting beneath the gentle singing and delicate synthesizer textures, together creating an indietronica vibe. If anything, "Fanfare," the first proper song on the album, sounds closest to the Go Find and other bands on the Morr Music roster, the only important difference being the complete absence of melancholy in Fantastic Plastic Machine's sound, which remains as positive as ever. Other tracks sport nice rock and bossa nova guitar, piano, and vocal samples over the same type of rhythms, and on the whole the record could have made for a sonically satisfying, if predictable, experience, had it not been for that dancefloor twist. Every now and then Tanaka slips in some stubbornly repetitive bits out of the Daft Punk songbook, which sound out of place after the parts that offer richer arrangements or at least more movement than the simple drone of "dance dance dance dance," to be encountered on the track of the same name. The endless loops were obviously meant to be ironic, and they pass for such, but there's no getting around the fact that they break the musical flow of the album, making it move between cunning, carefully crafted pieces of postmodern joy and undemanding background music. It's fun and relaxing from start to finish, though.

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