Tomoyuki Tanaka is the secret identity of the Fantastic Plastic Machine, an electronic artist and DJ of the Shibuya-kei movement. His first two albums, The Fantastic Plastic Machine (1997) and Luxury (1998), gained him critical acclaim and international recognition. Tanaka hosted a pop culture show on national radio, and in 2004 he hosted another radio show called “Sound Concierge.” He also once served as the editor for the Japanese fashion magazine Brutus.
Born in Kyoto, Tanaka entered the music business in the late ’80s as a bassist for trad rock band Margarine Strikes Back. Absorbed into dance music and the acid house movement near the turn of the decade, he formed a DJ team called Sound Impossible and began spinning a mix of French and Brazilian pop, soundtrack music, and exotica. At one Sound Impossible show, longtime Deee-Lite turn-tablist Towa Tei convinced Tanaka to begin recording again, and Fantastic Plastic Machine was born.
His music has elevated entertainment across the globe, from three songs featuring in the British sitcom Spaced to his single “Different Colors” appearing in a Louis Vuitton commercial, to his song “Bachelor Pad (f.p.m. edit)” appearing on the soundtrack to blockbuster film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. He has covered songs by Lil’ Louis (imaginations’s “French Kiss”), Frankie Knuckles (beautiful.’s “Whistle Song”), and the Eurhythmics (Luxury’s “There Must Be an Angel”). This global influence is present even in Tanaka’s own stage name: he took the name Fantastic Plastic Machine from a 1969 surfing documentary.
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The Fantastic Plastic Machine’s self-titled debut album was released in 1998, and distributed in America by Emperor Norton. Luxury followed one year later; beautiful. and Take Me to the Disco appeared in early 2001. A series of theme-based DJ mix releases entitled Sound Concierge appeared during the 2000s; other Fantastic Plastic Machine albums during the decade have included too (2003), imaginations (2006), and FPM (2009).