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by Don Crispy

King Unique
Matthew Roberts (left) and Matt Thomas

“To put it bluntly, the music-making technology now available is allowing untalented people to make quite generic tech/house tracks,” says Matt “Watkins” Thomas, one half of dance production duo King Unique, by email from England. “A tidal wave of average tracks is watering down the scene.”

“Dance music is not as healthy as it could be,” adds partner Matthew Roberts. “A lot of the music is just fodder.”

Fighting words from a DJ/production unit that will be in town next week for the latest installment of Fareast Underground’s Spice parties at Yellow. But the reality is that, as veterans of mainstream parties like Cream and remixers of acts such as Underworld, King Unique are very much part of the UK house establishment.

The two long-standing collaborators decided to join forces full-time at the start of 2000 and make some 21st century noise, choosing Junior Records as the home for their new sound. The result has been a series of diverse club tracks and remixes mixing funky and progressive house elements, tied together with head-twisting production.

King Unique first visited Japan in 2001. “We had a great time playing Yellow,” recalls Thomas. “We did about seven or eight hours during which we played everything from the Chemical Brothers to Brian Eno. “The crowd stayed with us through many different moods; British crowds can be less open-minded.”
A King Unique DJ set blends elements of a classic DJ set with all the latest gadgetry. Roberts spins the vinyl while Thomas brings computers samplers and FX to the mix, creating the raw excitement usually associated with live techno acts such as the Chemical Brothers.

But don’t expect them to be wielding guitars on stage anytime soon. “Dance music played by a band is typically worse for it, and two blokes miming to a DAT is a waste of everybody’s time,” says Thomas. “More genuinely creative DJing is the way forward, using new technology such as vinyl-touch CDs, visual samplers and DV decks.”
Meanwhile, laymen with only a CD player in the house can get their first taste of King Unique outside the dancefloor with the release of their debut album, likely at the end of the year. “It has some downtempo stuff on there, and some house tracks,” explains Roberts. Adds Thomas: “We’re really pleased with the album. We’ve tried out new ideas as well as fitting in some classic King Unique club monsters.”

Joining King Unique at Yellow will be Spice resident DJs, Dave Twomey and Robert Palmer, and in the lounge Mel Bruce, Toshiyoshi NKJ and Simon Templar.

Spice@Yellow, 5/24, 9pm, 10pm, ¥3,500. Tel: 3479-0690. www.club-yellow.com

credit: Fareast Underground