by Don Crispy
Hardway wears good suits, and Id never do that.|
really keen to see the country without a chemical haze in front of me, says
David Harrow (a.k.a. James Hardway) ruefully about his upcoming Japan tour, his
first in a decade. When I worked with On-U Sound, with Lee Scratch
Perry, Gary Clail [and] Dub Syndicate...we used to come to Japan all the time.
clean and wiser for the experience, Harrow brings his new album, Big Casino, to
Yellow next Friday as part of a label night for key London imprint Hydrogen Dukebox.
On-U Sound label head Adrian Sherwood, Harrow was involved in the heady early
days of English techno in the late 80s and early 90s, working at the
confluence of acid house, dub and electro. But Harrows roots go back even
further, to his years in the Berlin underground of the mid-80s.
with the new synthesizers and sequencers, Harrow helped to fuel the burgeoning
interest in electronic music. It wasnt even called techno or electro,
he remembers. It was quite hard to get accepted. I can remember sitting
in record company offices and having people tell me that this stuff wasnt
music. We were saying, Well, were selling a hundred thousand copies,
so someone must like it.
With the current resurgence in early
electronica as seen in the electroclash movement, Harrow says he feels a certain
satisfaction. Whats odd is that a track I wrote that was re-released
this year and reached No. 20 in the German charts was recorded in 1982. Its
weird to feel like the music that I was first involved with has come back into
Now based in Los Angeles, Harrow seems happy to be away
from his native England. Its got the point nowadays where it doesnt
really matter where I am, so I might as well be someplace I like. London was thought
of as the center of the universe when it came to music, and 15 to 20 years on
thats definitely not the case.
Hes also happy to distance
himself from the frenetic life of a touring DJ, and plays only occasional sets.
Having been a touring musician for 20 years, I dont need to do it
anymore. The longest I was away was for about three and a half years. That cured
me of it.
The upcoming tour provides a chance to look at Harrows
new album, Big Casino, which explores his recent interest in jazz-meets-techno.
Id made three or four [albums] of what I call breakneak jazz, which
is a cross between drumnbass and jazz and wanted to explore it further,
he says. I wanted to experiment with different beats, and slower temposfunkier
tempos rather than really fast tempos. But not going toward disco, keeping it
slow, but funkyalmost a house feel.
At Yellow, where Harrow
will be joined by fellow Hydrogen Dukebox stablemate Metamatics, the artist says
hell be spicing up his set with some new material. Ill be doing
a combination set with some vinyl, some CDs, and some exclusive music from my
laptopa sort of collage.
Night@Yellow, 7/18, 9pm, ¥3,000 (adv), ¥3,500 (door). Tel: 3479-0690.