I’ve had a post about The Plastics half in the can for nearly a year now, but the sudden death of Toshio Nakanishi inspired me to get off my ass and finish it. For those not in the know, Toshio (also known as Tycoon To$h) was one of the most important figures in the Japanese hip-hop and electronic scene, having fronted half a dozen different projects and collectives which brought the sounds of the west to the east. Granted much of that is difficult to find in the States, outside of compilations and one-off projects by artists like Cornelius where he’ll suddenly appear. This scattershot approach is understandable, as Toshio always seemed to be splitting his time between music and graphic design, which is what wound up giving him his big break. He did designs for a Talking Heads book during one of their Japan tours, and slipped David Byrne a Plastics demo tape, which he promptly sent off to the B-52’s manager, thinking they sounded somewhat alike. Eventually this leads to a deal with Island Records, which allowed them to tour in the US.