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by Don Crispy

Alex Paterson

Alex Paterson

Although he’s taken something of a beating in the music press of late, the fact is that Alex Paterson a.k.a. The Orb, as one of electronica’s seminal figures, remains a divinity in the techno firmament. Critics may have found The Orb’s latest release, Cydonia, devoid of new ideas, but Paterson has always been as much a dynamic creator of live music as a knob-twiddling studio genius, making it difficult to judge him from one album alone.

In his many appearances in Japan, at Rainbow 2000, Fuji Rock, and Yellow as DJ, or at Liquid Room with his expanded Le Petit Orb unit, Paterson has always proven to be nothing if not unpredictable. In fact, unpredictability is perhaps the only thing one can predict with any degree of safety about his upcoming debut DJ set at Shibuya superclub Womb. Where other DJs can be counted on to play more or less in a certain style, Paterson’s eclecticism means that anything and everything will make its way into his music.

Despite this, critics have labeled his style “ambient house,” a moniker that comes from his revolutionary early ’90s experimentations in which he slowed down the upbeat rhythms of Chicago house, layering the beats with ambient effects inspired by Brian Eno and obscure and often riotously funny vocal samples. Tracks from this era include a number of dance music classics, including “A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain that Rules From the Underworld” and the unforgettable Top Ten hit “Little Fluffy Clouds.”

Paterson’s contributions to trance, ambient, and all variants of psychedelic techno have indeed become so integrated that, for him to do something that critics consider “original,” he would have to jettison his style entirely. But the producer/DJ was always about more than ambient house.

Paterson’s recent doings can be sampled on his new mix CD for the acclaimed Back to Mine series on DMC. The disc is a typically bizarre journey that includes Paterson-selected tracks by Aphex Twin and Juno Reactor, among others, as well as a new piece by The Orb to be released on the forthcoming spring album, Orbisnowhere...

Shifting over to the sounds of New York house, club Yellow in Nishi-Azabu will again be hosting NYC DJ Romain as part of Brand New Made’s Afro Sessions tour.

DJ Romain

Brooklyn-born DJ Romain boasts 20 years behind the turntables at leading New York nightclubs ranging from the Palladium to Limelight, Nells, and Body&Soul. As part of the Romatt unit with Matt Keys, he has also released some no-nonsense four-to-the-floor tracks, including the 2000 UK hit “Philly Groove” featuring house legend Danny Krivit. In a visit last winter, Romain proved himself a formidable DJ, mixing perhaps the wildest, woolliest set of tribal house this writer has heard.

At Yellow, DJ Romain will be backed by local talents DJ Khadhi, and in the lounge, the N.H.C. Magic House Crew.

Cyclone@Womb, 2/10, 10pm, ¥3,500. Tel: 5459-0039. www.womb.co.jp

Afro Session 2003@Yellow, 2/10, 9pm, ¥3,500. Tel: 3746-2368. http://club-yellow.com

Photos courtesy of Womb
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