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 Post subject: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001-58]
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2021, 13:53 
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Kiyotaka Sugiyama & Omega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001-58]

I have mentioned elsewhere about my fondness for 1980's Japanese 'city pop' and 'city jazz' music. If you're a fan of 'proper anime' (I can already see feathers being ruffled), ergo anything made in the 1980's up to the latter 1990's, then you'll probably be familiar with such music. Think of the background music in an elevator, complete with kitsch vocals, esoteric jangly guitars and cool synths. Or perhaps in an anime when the hero/heroine wakes up in the morning and the animators go to great lengths to show the character making coffee, breakfast, drawing back the curtains and reading a newspaper.

Ωmega Tribe fit rather nicely in to this genre. In fact they would probably be one of the go-to bands on any top 10 list at the mere utterance of great 'city pop' artists. Sure enough, one of their albums was even entitled Aqua City (sadly nothing to do with Big Blue from F Zero). They were around a good while too, before City Pop and City Jazz exploded in the earlier half of the 1980's. They formed in 1978 and since then have had more line-up's than Ronnie Wood and as of 2021 they are still active. In fact only recently in July the band announced a new remix project to commemorate their Aqua City album and also have a special project in the works to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kiyotaka Sugiya & Ωmega Tribe. If you want to get in to their music, I strongly recommend the track Crystal Night which is under the band name 1986 Ωmega Tribe.

I'm not 100% around the history of this Single Vacation Laserdisc. From what my research shows, it appears to be a greatest hits video collection of hits spanning three of Ωmega Tribe's albums; Aqua City, River's Island and Never Ending Summer, released in September 1983 and March and December of 1984 respectively. There was a follow-up to the latter album, Another Summer released in July of 1985 though none of those songs appear here.

The premise for the collection filled me with a lot of hope. I mentioned in another post that I had hopes for pure 80's sensory overload. Tragic-looking cliche staged poses, fingerless gloves, aviator sunglasses, neon signs, beach sunsets through horizontal window blinds, martini's and pretty people in pastel attire. And for the most part that checklist is pretty much present. For the first three or four songs I was not disappointed at all. It appears that the majority of the videos were shot on location in Hawaii, I would imagine between 1983 and 1984. A lot of the opening scenery reminded me of the Shakatak 'Da Makani' Laserdisc. The gorgeous scenery, palm trees, yachts and achingly beautiful people sipping cocktails at exclusive bars and resorts. Yet you also get a stupendously heavy dose of tragic moody posing and modelling. It's all quite brilliant and toe-curlingly cringey!

The problem is that the videos change tact. What starts out as some sort of premise about a man chasing after a beautiful lady in some sort of long-lost Summer love nostalgia sequence quickly changes to standard 'band playing in a studio' setup before upping the ante a little with more location fodder towards the end of the disc. I imagine the band and/or label (VAP) probably spent all of their budget on their holiday in Hawaii and had to resort to boring studio fare to get the rest of the videos completed. It may also explain why there is a change of model in the latter videos, with the part of the nostalgic Summer vacation lady being played by a totally different model. It's a shame neither of them are credited at all as I'd be keen to see how their careers worked out and if they had been in anything else I may had seen.

In terms of presentation the disc itself is innocent enough. You get what appears to be shot on video footage presented in 4:3 and an analogue audio track. The picture quality varies a little between razor sharp and a little softer as you play it through. One thing I did notice is that scenes shot in low light appeared to have a lot more grain and a slight green tint to them. Perhaps that's down to the equipment used to shoot the videos. It doesn't look terrible by any means, it's just an interesting quirk I noticed. It looks like the kind of filter that would perhaps be used on a Tia Maria advert. Audio is fairly weak on this disc, meaning you will need to crank up the volume a little. It also felt a little flat. I found that by using Music mode on my Yamaha soundbar and setting it to Jazz Club mode that it sounded a lot better. If you do get this disc then be aware that it will require a little tinkering on the equalization to get the sound just how you want it. Once set up it does sound great, particularly when you kick the bass channel up just a little. It's nothing super serious to worry about, possibly more due to differences in audio equipment in 1983/84 and today?

Overall, this is a nice little disc. I think I perhaps expected a bit too much from it. I do wish that all of the videos followed the opening narrative of the first 3 videos though as it really was on a role. Resorting to terminally dull 'band in the studio' videos is a bit of a cop out when they could have gotten really creative. I guess though for the label it was not just about a lack of time and perhaps money but about getting the albums out in to shops to rake the money in before the band's popularity waned, such is the way of the music industry (especially back in the 1980's). I would suggest that if you are curious enough to want to hear more then by all means pick up this Laserdisc and give it a try, just don't expect the world from it, which is what I did and ended up feeling ever so slightly let down.


Last edited by teddanson on 07 Sep 2021, 15:00, edited 1 time in total. _________________
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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2021, 14:33 
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i always knew i've loved this kind of music, but i never knew what the genre was called, or if it even had it's own actual genre to speak of.

well, Now i Know. Thank You... 8-)
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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2021, 15:09 
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Oh yes, there's quite a lot of it too. City Pop and City Jazz were very popular in Japan in the 1980's. There is quite a lot to choose from too so don't be afraid to dive in!

Have a look on Alphabet's invasive streaming service and you will find lots of compilations to get you started:









...and of course the most famous (in my opinion) of City Jazz artists was the wonderful Chickenshack. They did the soundtrack for the legendary anime Urban Square.



...oh and not Japanese but don't forget that Shakatak were absolutely huge in Japan in the 1980's (and still are popular today).





Here is 1986 Omega Tribe's brilliant song Crystal Night too if anyone is searching for it. Note it's not on this Laserdisc as it came later on...1986 in fact. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2021, 15:29 
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Great stuff but don't know if I could really handle the vocals, I think my asburgers has kicked in about 4-5 years ago.
Higher pitched stuff just gets me to cringe.

Would have to find this stuff without vocals and I know its out there but also don't listen to music as much as I used to in the house.
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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 24 Sep 2021, 02:35 
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teddanson wrote:


This cover looks like a live version of Hiroshi Nagai's popular pool pop art paintings!

Such as:
ImageImage

Image

And it might as well be since this one was also by Nagai: Niagara Fall of Sound Orchestral: Niagara Song Book (1983) [50LS 5025]

Image

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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2021, 13:07 
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Wow! There is definitely similarity there. I wonder if there is a nice digital or coffee table book of those images? I would be keen to get a copy.

Shakatak's Da Makani Laserdisc ups the ante a little though with the so 80's it hurts (in a great way) shot of the bottle of Perrier (complete with mandatory condensation droplets) by the pool side,immediately followed by a shot of lapping breezy pool water by a set of pool steps. The entire disc is literally drenched in typical 80's visuals and design.
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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2021, 14:17 
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teddanson wrote:
Wow! There is definitely similarity there. I wonder if there is a nice digital or coffee table book of those images? I would be keen to get a copy.


They did re-release a boxset of POOLS/HUMAN NATURE/CRUISIN' called FAVORITE.

http://www.shift.jp.org/en/blog/2021/05/hiroshi-nagai-favorite/
Image

But you can buy POOLS separately.

Image

For example on Amazon Japan: https://www.amazon.co.jp/-/en/dp/4835458095

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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2021, 17:15 
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That box set looks really tempting. I love the art style.

Thanks for the link. Do you know if any prints are available to frame?
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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2021, 17:34 
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teddanson wrote:
That box set looks really tempting. I love the art style.


I bought the boxset for myself and POOLS for my parents :lol:

teddanson wrote:
Thanks for the link. Do you know if any prints are available to frame?


Quite many (but not ALL paintings):

https://www.art-frame.net/lists/category?id=1644
https://society6.com/s?q=hiroshi%20nagai

Or originals:

http://www.hiroshinagai.com/gallery/poolside.html
http://www.hiroshinagai.com/fmcd/collec ... talog.html

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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2021, 18:08 
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Those look superb! I like them all. Is the box set good quality? Very tempted to get it, though with import fees slapped on top it may be a bit too strong.

Very interested in buying one of the prints and getting it custom framed locally. I had a local business do two frames for me in the past and they were superb. Might get a print and my Urban Square poster framed.
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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2021, 14:11 
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For the most recent release I got this album on vinyl for the cool cover art.

https://www.discogs.com/Dunns-River-Pon-De-Wave/release/19361908
Image

Electro/reggae/summer jpop.
The kind of music you play at a pool cocktail party, or when driving a convertible in the sun in California!



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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2021, 18:13 
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First thing that came to my mind:

Image

Commodore 64 version of course though!
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 Post subject: Re: S. Kiyotaka & Ωmega Tribe: Single Vacation (1984) [70001
PostPosted: 16 Oct 2021, 13:16 
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Pretty excellent Youtube transfer of Kiyotaka Sugiyama & Omega Tribe: First Finale Concert (1986) [70014-78]

I hate youtube and 2021 but as a non-owner of above LD I have enjoyed this youtube presentation through a decent DAC and headphones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27XJmp9hI_g

I dunno what the specs on the youtube audio are but sounds good to me. Recommended
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