Issue Index

  Mini Features
  Cultural Features
  Life in Japan
  Big in Japan
  Rant & Rave
  Cars & Bikes
  Health & Beauty
  Money Talks
  Tokyo Tech
  Web Watch
  Food & Drink
  Restaurant Reviews
  Bar Reviews
  Word of Mouth
  Travel Features
  Japan Travel
  International Travel
  Tokyo Talk
  In Store
  Japan Beat
  CD Reviews
  In Person


bar news and views
bar news and views
bar news and views


774: Presidents of the United States of America
773: Keith
767: Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute
764: Kaiser Chiefs
760: Tim and Puma Mimi
759: Ice Cube
758: Vinyl Soul
757: Bajofondo
755: The Troubadours
752: Spiritualized at Summer Sonic
749: Cajun Dance Party
744: Heat and Noise
739: The Checks
737: Blue King Brown
735: Asian Dub Foundation
734: Scouting For Girls
732: Buzzcocks
730: Old Man River
728: The Kills
726: KT Tunstall
725: Jason Collett
722: Brotherís Sisterís Daughter
720: Sufjan Stevens
716: Gossip
714: The Go! Team
713: Cafť Tacvba
711: Celtic Woman
709: Jack PeŮate
706: Soulive
703: Animal Collective
703: Reverend and The Makers
702: Battles
700: Dinosaur Jr
696: The Polyphonic Spree
695: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
692: Golden Age of Rock
691: One Fine Day
688: Rhombus
687: Corneille
685: The Cinematic Orchestra
683: 747s
680: Pete Murray
679: Mice Parade
678: Enter Shikari
676: The View
674: !!!
671: Donavon Frankenreiter
670: Herbie Hancock
669: Krystal Meyers
668: The Roots
666: Lily Allen
664: Two for Christmas
663: The Datsuns
661: Peaches
660: Tapes ín Tapes
658: Mystery Jets
656: Shayne Ward
654: The Beat
653: Eumir Deodato
652: Mt. Fuji Calling
650: Juno Reactor
649: Yo La Tengo
648: Hyde Park Music Festival
647: Juana Molina
646: Sierra Leoneís Refugee All Stars
645: Tool
644: Juan Formell y Los Van Van
643: The Benevento-Russo Duo
641: TV On The Radio
639: Summer Music Festival Guide 2006
638: ESG
636: Editors
634: Greenroom
632: Ben Harper
630: Matmos
627: Arctic Monkeys
626: Erykah Badu
624: Cake
622: Bent Left
620: Mogwai
618: Deerhoof
617: The Album Leaf
616: Tristan Prettyman
614-615: 10, 9, 8....
613: Madonna
612: John Tropea and Incognito
610: Boy
608: Underworld
607: Niyaz
606: The Beautiful Girls
605: Miho Hatori
604: Doves
600: Bang Gang
598: Feist
596: Fantomas
595: Hyde Park Music Festival
593: Little Barrie
591: Juliette Lewis
589: James Chance & The Contortions
588: Carnival: Vice Bongo 1st Anniversary Party
585: Stereophonics
583: Little Joe Washington
581: Caetano Veloso
579: Maximo Park
578: Moe
577: Death From Above 1979
576: Destiny’s Child
575: Megadeth
574: Bandstand
572: Ozomatli
570: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
568: Prefuse 73
566: Pat Metheny
565: Rachel Yamagata
564: The Shins
563: The Music
561-562: Metropolis music survey 2004
559: Blues Explosion
557: The Libertines
555: G. Love
554: Dropkick Murphys
553: Kasabian
552: Fertile Ground
551: Recliner
550: Jah Shaka
548: Faithless
547: Tokyo Rotation
546: Yokosuka Reggae Super Bash
545: The Roots
544: True People's Celebration
543: Trans Europe Fes
542: Matthew Sweet
541: Heaven Artists
540: Manolito y su Trabuco
539: Rabble rouser
537: The Offspring
535: Janet Kay with Omar and Thriller U
533: Critters Buggin’
532: Cyndi Lauper
531: Cat Power
530: Standing in the shadows
528: Missy Elliott
527: Stereolab
526: Organic Groove
525: Questions of the day
523: Tough Cookie
521: Conversion
520: Iggy's inner artist
519: Control freak chic
518: Down to the Wire
517: Incubus
516: Kraftwerk
515: Black Eyed Peas
514: Pretenders
513: Sonicmania
511: Suburban funk boys
509/10: Incognito
508: Celtic Xmas 2003
507: Limp Bizkit
506: Robert Randolph and the Family Band
505: Out on a limb
503: Electraglide
501: Super Furry Animals
499: Geezer's groove
498: Ashanti
497: Syn city
496: Slacker rock rules!
495: Television
494: Lou Reed
493: Joao Gilberto
492: The Used
491: Gypsy Summer 2003
490: The Lucksmiths
489: Maxi Priest & Shaggy
488: Chuck Berry
487: Summer Sonic
486: The redheaded stepchild makes good
485: Positive punk mom
484: Duran Duran
483: Unapologetically acoustic
482: Break and Remake
481: Ron Sexmith
480: Folk Implosion
479: The Brand New Heavies
478: The Blood Brothers
477: Eminem
476: The Kills
475: Jackson Browne
474: N.E.R.D.
473: Shred a tabloid, make music
472: Garage Redux
471: Bringing the jams east
470: Asian Dub Foundation
469: Badly Drawn Boy
468: Massive Attack
467: Teenage Fanclub
466: The All Wave Grrls
465: J. Mascis + the Fog
464: Catching up with Sonic Youth
463: Deep Forest
462: Magic Rockout
461: Jurassic 5
460: Snuff
459: Queens of the Stone Age
457/8: On the phone: The Jeevas
456: K-Ci & JoJo and The Roots
455: Sleater-Kinney
454: Beast Feast
453: Contrasts in young UK rock
452: Tahiti 80
451: Pink
450: The Artist (no longer) formerly known as..
449: Paul McCartney Previewed
447: Jamiroquai
446: On the phone: Taxiride
445: Bad Religion
444: Jennifer Love Hewitt
443: Camp in Asagiri Jam
442: The Cinematic Orchestra
441: On the phone: Moby
440: True People's Celebration
439: Roots Revival
438: The politics of sampling
437: Summer Sonic sampler
436: The Jazz Mandolin Project
435: Indie icons
434: Cato Salsa Experience
433: Get's Bossa Nova 2002
432: Janet Kay with Omar
431: Kottonmouth Kings
430: Bowes & Morley
429: Christina Milian
428: Elvis Costello
427: Space Kelly
426: Diana Krall
425: Jay-Z
424: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
423: The Brian Setzer Orchestra
422: Weezer
421: The Music
420: Lenny Kravitz
419: Speech
418: Tool
417: Green Day
416: Chuck Berry & James Brown
415: Ozomatli
414: Britney Spears
413: Music Mary J. Blige
412: Incubus
411: The Chemical Brothers
410: David Byrne
409: The Prodigy
408: Roger Walters
407: Ozzy Osbourne
406: Lisa Loeb
405: Aerosmith
404: Garbage
403: Sloan
402: Jamiriquoi
401: Park Tower Blues Festival
400: Mercury Rev
399: Bjork
398: The Isley Brothers
397: Janet Jackson
396: Ian Brown
395: Tortoise Orchestra
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel
392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana

by Dan Grunebaum

Shred a tabloid, make music

Can a jazz big band be political? In the hands of the UK electronica scene’s most controversial figure it can. Metropolis gets the skinny direct from the source when Matthew Herbert drops in to Tokyo to boost his new album, Goodbye Swingtime.

The sampling element seems diminished on the new album...
MH: I think it’s right up there but it’s done in a much more subtle way. Every single noise that’s not the band playing is a sample: it’s a sample of books or political texts or all the other sounds I’ve chosen to produce. Trying to combine a strident acoustic sound with electronics is quite a challenge, so consequently it’s much more subtle. But there are still something like 2000 samples in there.

Will the record find a home within the electronica scene?
I’m sure I’m going to lose a lot of people along the way, but on the other hand my work has never really followed any particular pattern anyways. Some of the people into my electronic stuff might be surprised by all the acoustic stuff on it, but I think that in places like England, my music will get heard in jazz circles simply because of the fact that I’m using well-known English players.

You must be a record exec’s nightmare. How do they market you?
Well, I am the executive, and I’m not really into marketing anyway, I don’t believe in it. I do interviews largely because people are interested, and it’s nice to talk about something that you’ve spent a year working on, and get some feedback and criticism as well. Marketing the record is just a question of making it available, and people will either buy it or they won’t. I think word of mouth is far more useful and gratifying than full-page adverts.

A number of groups are now merging jazz and electronica. Are you thinking along similar lines?
There is a common logical point with electronic music where it can’t be just a selfish kind of pursuit. What was once revolutionary—the fact that you could do it in your bedroom—we’ve had that for 20 years so that’s now the norm. So the reaction to that is to start combining it with real players and real instruments. Likewise for live music and bands. It’s been boring for a long time. Till it actually absorbs some of the expressions of electronic music and the software revolution that’s gone on, they are going to be left behind as well.

Is there an inevitable confluence between “live” and “electronic” music?
I wouldn’t assume that anything is inevitable in the music industry. Everything seems to take longer than I would expect. The biggest thing in the UK music industry right now is guitar bands that play the same three or four chords. You listen to Velvet Underground and you think, shouldn’t something have changed? But it hasn’t.

Recording a big band album must have been expensive...
It was expensive, but when you consider that a day in the studio costs as much as getting a remix or two by one of my contemporaries, and that includes recording with 17 people...we put the money into recording instead, and when it comes to a live show, we’re still less than a big name Detroit DJ, and we have 20 people on stage.

When you played Liquid Room last fall, you began the set by sampling and looping the sound of the band tearing newspapers into their microphones. I thought I might call this article, “Shred a newspaper, make music…”
Yeah, I wanted to use some pro-war tabloids, like the Sun, and get a bunch of copies to tear up on stage. It’s kind of a basic statement, but when you’re on stage the statements need to be a little bolder.

Will this “found sound” approach at a certain point exhaust its possibilities?
Never. It’s like being a photographer and saying you will run out of things to take photos of. Everything makes a sound, and you can take one minute in one day wherever you are, and you have enough sound in that one minute to keep you interested and original for the rest of your life. I’m not interested in listening to a drum machine that I’ve heard in all its combinations in the last 20 years, I’m interested in hearing someone drop a pencil on a table and finding out where it’s come from and why it’s there, why they live there, what country it is, what their opinions are...whatever it might be and whatever it might tell you.

Did you consider using non-Western instrumentation?
No I didn’t. Simply because of the fact that I don’t know enough about it, and I’m not a fan of cultural shopping. It’s very easy to go around Thailand for a bit, and record some sounds and not understand what they mean or their cultural significance. I’m much more interested in going to the Philippines and recording the sounds of people making Nike trainers. To me that has a lot more potency.

The sound of corporate exploitation?
Yeah, exactly. To me that’s gonna have much wider resonance with a non-Western audience, and besides I would like to manipulate it or chop it up or reevaluate it somehow. Coming into someone else’s culture, it’s not necessarily cool to mess with things that you don’t understand. If a song is about, like, people that were lost in the Vietnam War, and you chop it up for musical ends, it’s not very good.

Do Japanese get your message?
It’s not clear. In interviews I always talk about politics, and I make it pretty clear on the records and in the liner notes, and in performances where I can.

How exactly did you use the books mentioned in your liner notes?
Some of them are being read while the music is going on, and a lot of the sounds are of the books being flipped through, or rubbed, or getting whatever kinds of sounds I can get from them. In my earlier work I used the sounds simply for the quality of the sounds, whereas now I’m much more interested in the context.

Now that we’re on the verge of war with Iraq, do you have any thoughts about how to approach that in your music?

Well the whole album is about that. Lyrically it’s about that. The last three sounds that you hear on the whole album are the sounds of books detailing American injustices, so if people are like, what’s that noise in the last piece, then maybe they can read the liner notes. One of the London protests is also built into one of the pieces, so it’s woven into the whole thing.

Are you a bit of a lightning rod? Or do you feel like you’re preaching to the converted?
I think it’s a simple question of, you know we’ve reached a crucial moral turning point in the world, and if you don’t say something you’re complicit, and it’s just a question of me having to say something.

Are you pacifist?
I wouldn’t say that. I think to rule out war completely doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, because they are the sorts of issues I feel very strongly about. They are the sort of issues I would be prepared to die for, they wouldn’t be issues that I would necessarily be prepared to kill for.

Goodbye Swingtime will be released April 26 by Accidental Records and is distributed in Japan by Ultra-Vybe. Some of the books that can be heard on the album are: Rogue States, by Noam Chomsky; The New Rulers of the World, by John Pilger; Stupid White Men, by Michael Moore; and War Plan Iraq, by Milan Rai.

photo credit: Ali Mahdavi