After Dark: Hotaka Mountain Festival '02

By Don Crispy


Japan's highest (wink!) rave returns following its debut last year. Situated 1,440 meters up the slopes of a mountain in Gunma Prefecture, the Hotaka Mountain Festival settles in for a four-day stretch that will see sets by a slew of DJs and live acts.

Headliners range from veteran psychedelicists to cutting-edge techno units. From abroad, guitarist of legendary experimental rock unit Gong, Steve Hillage, will be present with his techno unit, System 7. Last year, the band performed a well-received set at Hiroshima's Sacred Music Festival, while their latest album, Seventh Wave, brings together techno, trance, house and dub.

Also making a return trip to Japan will be Infusion, the experimental Australian trance act signed to Thunk Recordings. The young three-piece made a successful Japan debut this past April, performing tracks off their consistently challenging Phrases and Numbers.

Rei Harakami

Partygoers may also be familiar with longtime Japan friend, DJ Mike Maguire. An occasional collaborator with psychedelic techno leaders Juno Reactor, Maguire has been pushing Japanese clubbers to the limit since he first started touring here in the '90s.

Filling out the "guest from abroad" roster are The Bays, a band formed by the drummer for Massive Attack and experimental techno artist and keyboard wizard Jamie Odell, aka Jimpster, and DJs Domino and Holeg.

On the home front, 10-piece jazz-oriented improvisational group, Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden, will be present, as will veteran electro-dub unit Audio Active and Japanese taiko drum ensemble, Gocoo, who will be performing with didgeridoo sensation Goro.

Rei Harakami of leading Japanese techno label Sublime will be presenting his eccentric vision of electronic jazz, and will be joined by all-star outfit Rovo, a trance-oriented live unit that includes guitarist Yamamoto of the Boredoms and other members from Dub Squad.

Domestic DJs include one of Japan's seminal techno DJs, Artman, trance standby Funky Gong, and worldbeat and house DJ Kaoru Inoue, with Ebz,, and Techno Flux A&R man and veteran Equinox party organizer, Kotaro, completing the bill.

Leave plenty of time to reach the festival site, as getting to the campground involves a substantial drive from Tokyo and a shuttle bus from the parking lot, followed by a ski lift to the top of the mountain and a one-hour walk.

Hotaka Mountain Festival '02@Hotaka Bokujo Campground (Katashina Village, Gunma Prefecture), 8/23-26, ¥8,500 (adv), ¥10,500 (door). Info: 3298-8771.

credit: Techno Flux

B u y  i t  o n l i n e !
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