After Dark: Norma Jean Bell

By Don Crispy

One of a number of women finally bursting out of the "house diva" box and coming into their own as DJ/producers will be bringing her act to Yellow. From a different end of the spectrum but the same city, meanwhile, Detroit techno marvel Juan Atkins touches down at Air.

A saxophonist, singer and producer, Norma Jean Bell was once a member of Frank Zappa's touring band, but in the '90s reincarnated herself in the dance world. Founding her own Pandemonium label in 1996, she also penned a dance-floor anthem with "I'm the Baddest Bitch" the same year.

Bell's breakthrough solo LP, Come Into My Room, appeared last year on the UK's Peacefrog label, garnering kudos for its simmering house and Bell's own fluent saxophone work. She also showed the breadth of her experience, with nods to jazz legend John Coltrane, funk, disco and pop.

At Yellow, Bell will be performing live with a band that includes Tommy Onyx (keyboards, programming, vocals), and Jared Sykes (congas). Warming up the house on the decks will be Tokyo denizens DJs Alex, Yoku, and Ageishi…

Another dance music veteran from Detroit is Juan Atkins, one of the legendary "Belleville Three." Atkins is currently touring Japan, and will be at the spare yet spacious new venue Air in trendy Daikanyama in a bill that matches him with one of the founders of Japanese techno, Ken Ishii.

Along with fellow Detroit techno figures Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, Atkins attended Belleville Junior High School in the late '70s. The three began experimenting with keyboards, cassette decks and synthesizers, fusing the techno-futurism of Kraftwerk with the cosmic funk of bands like Parliament.

The resulting style, later called Detroit techno, was key to the UK's acid house revolution of the late '80s, the later trance movement, and to the sounds of Japanese techno stars like Ishii himself.
Atkins has been an occasional visitor to Japan in recent years and has also issued a stream of recordings, including Mind and Body on R&S in 1999, and last year's retrospective Legends, Vol. 1 on OM.

Ishii has been busy himself, touring the world under his own name and also releasing tracks for key Japanese label Sublime under his alter-ego, FLR, the most recent being contributions to this month's latest in the Reel Up party/CD series.

Norma Jean Bell@Yellow, 6/1, 10pm, ¥4,000. Tel: 3479-0690. www.club-yellow.com

Juan Atkins@Air, 6/8, 10pm, ¥3,000 (adv), ¥3,500 (door). Tel: 5784-3386. www.air-tokyo.com

credit: Yellow

B u y  i t  o n l i n e !
Tokyo Night City

AFTER DARK ARCHIVE:
449: Utsumi Izuru
448: Jeff Mills
447: CJ Bolland
446: Play Label Presents: The Mighty Quark
445: Tokyo London Clash
444: Slinky Tokyo
443: David Alvarado
442: Lee "Scratch" Perry; Mad Professor
441: Salsa Libre en Velfarre
440: Nuphoria III
439: Wire02
438: Hotaka Mountain Festival '02
437: Free parties
436: Dub Above Jazz
435: Metamorphose
434: Andrew Weatherall
433: Solstice Music Festival
432: Cassius
431: Algorithm
430: If? So!! ...What?
429: Jose Padilla
428: Flak
427: Balance
426: Norma Jean Bell
425: Skam
424: Daz Saund
423: MODA
422: Body & SOUL
421: Music of the Sphere
420: Velfarre Cyber Trance
419: Danny Howells and Kenny Ken
418: Detox
417: Soul City Scandal
416: Jeff Mills
415: Frankie Knuckles
414: Isolated Audio Players
413: Living Floor
412: Hernan Catteneo
411: Derrick May
410: Return to the Source
409: Kenny Dope
408: Basement Jaxx
407: Jerome Sydenham
406: Rebirth Jag
405: Co-Fusion
403: Seismic Frequencies
402: Crystal Skulls
401: Adam Freeland
400: Electraglide

ISSUES 500+
ISSUES 499-
ISSUES 449-
ISSUES 399-
ISSUES 349-

 

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