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by Don Crispy

Etoiles
DJ Joakim

Etoiles, the French house party that ended a yearlong run at Yellow in January, is reborn in a new location next Saturday with a CD release party for one of France’s top DJs at Air.

A prolific producer, Joakim Bouaziz, aka DJ Joakim, discovered electronica in his 20s. Passing a demo tape to Gilbert Cohen aka DJ Gilb-r, owner of the influential Versatile label, led to the release of his much-talked about debut, Tigersushi. For his new release, Fantomes, however, Joakim dropped the stylish, jazzy feel of the previous album for something rawer.

Fantomes takes a darker view of electronica, with cavernous bass lines providing the foundation for twisted synth leads and chopped vocoders on tracks like “Are You Vegetarian?” The recent electro revival also figures largely in the album, but Fantomes remains eclectic, with only the acid jazz beats of “Partly Fish, Partly Pauper,” and the Steve Reich minimalism of “Into” and “La Mouette,” lightening the mood.

Also making the trip to Shibuya’s Air from France will be Versatile’s Gilb-r, who will also be behind the decks. In addition to Joakim, Gilb-r has worked with Daft Punk, 4Hero and a bevy of other electronica heavyweights, putting Versatile on the map since its founding in 1996…

Dennis Bovell

Meanwhile, next Friday offers an opportunity to celebrate the King of Reggae on the 22nd anniversary of his death. Bob Marley passed away in 1981, but his memory is well and alive, particularly here in Japan, where Yellow has been holding annual events to commemorate reggae’s prophet.

This year’s tribute will again feature one of the key figures in UK dub, Dennis Bovell. Perhaps best-known for backing dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, bass player and singer Bovell was one of the formative figures in the late ’70s-early ’80s UK dub scene. Throughout the ’90s, he has been an occasional visitor with LKJ and, more recently, on his own.

For Friday’s event, Bovell brings with him “lovers rock”-style singer Marie Pierre, who will join him on stage with a band specially put together for the occasion, the Japanese Dub Band. The evening will also include a look at Marley’s life and times through a slide show of the photographs of Mitsuhiro Sugawara, and plenty of Marley classics as spun by veteran reggae DJs Haruyasu “Big H” Kudoh and Hirose’X…

And finally, those of you looking to step out tonight might consider a new event launching at Liquid Room that offers a look at the latest sounds of Detroit Electro Base, sometimes called Ghetto Base, Miami Base, or Booty Music. A breakneck form of techno, usually at over 150bpm, the style will be represented at Liquid Room in the event Ghetto Base Electro Bash! by DJ Assault and DJ 3000 (Electrofunk/Submerge/UR), with a live set by AuxMen (formerly Aux 88).


Etoiles@Air, 5/10, 11:30pm, ¥3,000. Tel: 03-5784-3386.

King of Reggae@Yellow, 5/9, 10pm, ¥3,000 (adv), ¥3,500 (door). Tel: 03-3479-0690.

Ghetto Base Electro Bash!@Liquid Room, 5/2, ¥3,500 (adv), ¥4,000 (door). Tel: 03-3200-6831.

credit: Versatile