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