September 8 2021


From the raunch of Italo-disco and various forms of smoke effects to the ‘perfect video’, CRYSTAL’s playlist reveals their favourite visual scenes, shots, effects and tricks. 

CRYSTAL’s music appeals to the brain’s joy centres not just because of the duo’s heedless retro-futurism and blazing aesthetic nostalgia. The music itself is simply so utterly brilliant:  the tunes are impeccably assembled, the melodies and hooks so maddeningly ear-worming, the music’s complexity both unobtrusive and plain to see. 

Consisting of Ryota Miyake and Sunao Maruyama, CRYSTAL has been releasing music for over a decade. Their 2015 full-length Crystal Station 64 leant heavily into videogame music, combining game console and arcade sounds and themes with the off-kilter, unsettled synthpop of Yellow Magic Orchestra. 

This year’s Reflection Overdrive (a combination of Akira Terao’s 1981 album Reflections, the best-selling Japanese album of the 1980s, and William Gibson’s novel Mona Lisa Overdrive) sees Miyake and Maruyama cultivate each element of their sound. They lay out nostalgia for new wave, techno, synthpop, funk, ambient and videogame music – all in hi-fi.

The core of CRYSTAL’s appeal is the duo’s skilful mix of fun, addictive, technical music, but equally crucial is their loyalty to the retro-futuristic aesthetic. From the record sleeves and videos to the duo’s website, CRYSTAL’s graphics and imagery knowingly and extravagantly pursue a warped and surreal tech nostalgia.

It makes sense, therefore, that CRYSTAL’s playlist opts to highlight their favourite visual inspirations. Here they take us through their favourite scenes, shots, effects, tricks and more from their favourite music videos, as explained by Miyake:

“Here we made a list of videos, with our favourite part. These have had a profound influence on our video for ”Refraction Overdrive”:


Akira Terao “Shukkou [Sailing] ~ SASURAI [Roaming] ~/ Shadow City” (1981)

The lighting on Akira when he starts to sing.


Daryl Hall & John Oates – “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” (1981)

Beautiful smoke #1.


Pet Shop Boys – “West End Girls” (1984)

Amazing half-transparent look of Chris Lowe…


YMO – “Ishin Denshin (You've Got to Help Yourself)” (1983)

The optical trick on the interlude.


Sparks – “The Number One Song In Heaven” (1979)

Beautiful smoke #2.



[Video here but unavailable in certain countries. See this link for the song without the video]

This rewind in the outro.


Fancy – “Lady Of Ice” (1986)

This video has everything.

Author: Ed Cunningham

Artist Tags: CRYSTAL

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