by Don Crispy
In between Japan's massive summer trance fests and its
big New Year's house parties comes a chance to take a
broader look at electronic music. Launched in 2000 by Beatinkwhich
distributes key techno label Warp in Japan and has also booked
electronic acts for the Fuji Rock FestivalElectraglide
this year has scored a coup by booking German techno innovators
Metropolis managed to track down English DJ/producer Andrew
Weatherallknown for his work with Two Lone Swordsman
and as Primal Scream producerand asked him to characterize
the influence of Kraftwerk and preview the gig, where he is
booked as closing DJ.
Hearing [Kraftwerk album] Autobahn for the first time
when I was 11, he recalled by phone from England, was
my first introduction to electronic music. Even at that early
age I realized they were coming from another planet. They've
been a massive influence on people's musical consciousness
even if they don't realize it.
The unconventional song format that ditched pop music's
verse-chorus-verse orthodoxy, the minimalist vocals, the lack
of a star persona, and most of all the synthetic
vocabulary of sounds: all these are essential elements of
dance music that can be traced back to Kraftwerk's pioneering
innovations of the '70s.
Weatherall, meanwhile, is no slouch himself, having been one
of the lynchpins of the London acid house scene before going
on to remix acts like the Happy Mondays and Primal Scream.
He also contributed to the development of ambient techno through
his work with the Sabers of Paradise and, more recently, Two
Right now, however, Weatherall says he is focusing on his
new label, the charmingly named Rotters Golf Club. The label
has just released his new mix album, From The Bunker, which
Weatherall says is a good introduction to the label
and what we do. It's pretty eclectic but with a common
The album is rather driving and upbeat in comparison to the
more atmospheric work of his Two Lone Swordsmen material,
and Weatherall says he'll be playing tracks off it at
the cavernous Makuhari Messe venue. I never plan sets
totally, he adds, but it would be foolish for
me not to play my product in front of 20,000 people.
Weatherall describes his approach to DJing as follows: I
don't play my records just because they're my records.
It has to feel right at the time. At Liquid Room I played
for eight hours. I started with dub and ended up in techno,
but with a few hours to play in front of a bigger crowd it's
a different sort of set. You've got to be a bit more
direct. And when you're going on as the last DJ the buildup
has been done for you, so subtlety sometimes goes out the
window. It will be predominantly electro and techno based.
The DJ, who will be going on in the wee hours, says playing
last has its good points. I do actually play better
when I'm a little bit tired, he explains. Because
when you're hyped up sometimes you can get impatient,
but when you're tired, you can work out where you fit
in. I don't just turn up and try and stamp my identity
on the gig. I'm part of an evening. With Electraglide,
I'll listen to the music all night, and then maybe 30
minutes before I go on I'll start formulating a set in
my mind based on what's gone before.
Also on the bill are DJs UK house duo X-Press 2 (who recently
scored a hit with the house track Lazy featuring
ex-Talking Heads leader David Byrne), Sasha of progressive
house team Sasha & Digweed, recent European house phenom
Tim Deluxe, sonic terrorist Squarepusher and local
force Y. Sunahara, both of whom will be on hand with live
Electraglide takes place at Makuhari
Messe on December 13. See concert listings for details.