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Japanese techno-pop revival group Motocompo formed in 1996 as a trio of programmer Usui Nobuya (alias Dr. Usui), vocalist Chiho, and VJ Hisaya. Beginning by selling home-produced cassettes in their neighborhood, the Tokyo suburb of Kichijoji, they attracted some local popularity as purveyors of a sound that recalled classic' 80s Japanese new wave such as the Plastics and P-Model. Motocompo's emergence in the western suburbs of Tokyo coincided with the emergence of fellow new wave revivalists Polysics, as well as a vibrant new wave-influenced scene that was then emerging around Chiba University to the east of Tokyo. In 1998, Motocompo, Polysics. and likeminded bands such as Skyfisher and Spoozys were part of the compilation album Tokyo New Wave of New Wave 1998 on the newly formed Tinstar Records, which catapulted the movement into the limelight. In 1999 Motocompo released another cassette, also on Tinstar, followed by the EP Tiny Lack'n'Roll. Their live profile continued to rise in tandem with the "new wave of new wave" scene, with the band supporting British/American/Japanese new wave supergroup NiNa, and finally releasing their debut mini-album Desktop Romancer.

By 2000, the new wave of new wave movement was fragmenting, with Polysics signing to Sony; Tinstar Records soon dissolved. Dr. Usui founded his own Poplot label, through which he released Motocompo's first full-length album Krackerjack Party. Less commercially successful than its predecessor, it nevertheless saw the group's sound move in a more sophisticated, electro-influenced direction, relying less on a limited range of '80s Japanese new wave influences and drawing on more contemporary European dance music in a sound that predicted the later emergence of sophisticated, Daft Punk-influenced idol pop such as MEG, Aira Mitsuki, and Perfume.

The group entered a period of hiatus after this, but emerged with an even more fleshed out, mainstream pop sound in 2004 with the Parttime War and Dream Flows EPs. Tracks from these two EPs later re-emerged on the 2007 full-length album Chiptop Lips, which added more guitars to the electro sound while retaining Motocompo's signature mix of catchy, commercial-sounding melodies and production, with ironic, often acerbic lyrical content. Motocompo supported the album with overseas tours in the U.K. and festival appearances in Thailand, all the while continuing to work together with and support Tokyo-based new wave, techno-pop and electro musicians. In 2008, Dr. Usui released a solo mini-album with a harder electro sound, and in early 2009 the group began work on a new full-length album. ~ Ian Martin


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