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by Don Crispy

Justin Robertson

Justin Robertson

Two parties on the event horizon look promising this coming weekend: one features a rare appearance by the DJ who taught the young Sasha and Chemical Brothers to buy records; the other brings together some of the major players in the Japanese house and trance scenes of the past decade.

Justin Robertson rose to prominence in 1990 in Manchester by launching the Spice club sessions, a name that Tokyo promoter Koji Tsubouchi took for his now well-established Spice! parties at Yellow in Nishi-Azabu, which will be a sort of homecoming for Robertson this Friday.

The party provided a meeting place for likeminded folks such as the Chemical Brothers (at that time the Dust Brothers), while alongside Andrew Weatherall, Robertson subsequently became among the most prominent of a new wave of DJs, with his sets at Manchester's Most Excellent club making him well-known within the dance music community.

Subsequent high points have included remixing for Bjork, New Order and many others, while Robertson also performed through the '90s as part of the Lionrock unit that spawned dance-floor hits such as "Carnival." More recently, he ditched the designation for his first production album under his own name, 2001's Revtone…

Meanwhile, Project X ("Mistresses of Magic and Masters of Illusion") next Saturday promises to be an unusual event in that it crosses the usually impassible boundaries between house and trance, blending them with a touch of the erotic. The event came about as a result of house promoter Luciano Uchizono (Protocol) joining forces with Tania Miller (Vision Quest), both of whom have been organizing parties for the better part of a decade, along with design and performance direction from Keziah Xavael. "The idea is to mix in one night all genres of electronic music and later build it into a music festival," says Uchizono, across the conference table at Metropolis.

Project X joins the growing ranks of fetish parties, and will feature erotic performances and live experimental music from Tokyo-based R-Deeper fronted by singer Rina, as well as a formidable range of DJ sets. DJs from the house world include Simon Eve, associated with the UK's premiere React records label, Jet More from Australia, Roger from Brazil, and former Protocol resident Taka. From the trance scene, the names reflect Vision Quest's association with the Israeli trance world, with Skazi, Avi "Space Cat" and Invision being joined by domestic veteran of the seminal Equinox trance parties, Kotaro…

Finally, word has just come in that New York monster DJ and Madonna remixer Junior Vasquez will once again be bringing his over-the-top progressive house to the turntables of a Tokyo club, after opening Womb (punters lined up to pay ¥10,000) three years ago. The Sound Factory and Twilo veteran will be spinning on a far more affordable basis in Brand New Made's Junior's World event this time, so look for even the massive bayside Ageha/Studio Coast to fill up quickly.

Spice!@Yellow, 8/15, 10pm, ¥3,500. Tel: 3479-0690

Project X@TSK Building (ex-Pylon), 8/16, 10pm, ¥4,000 (w/costume), ¥5,000. Info: 3401-6003

Junior's World@Studio Coast, 8/16, 10pm, ¥5,250 (adv), ¥7,000 (door). Tel: 5534-1515

photo credit: Fareast Underground