by Don Crispy
|Last year's Rolling
Thunder on Sado Island
This year's yagai reibu (outdoor rave)
season reaches critical mass next weekend with parties by
two of the Japanese dance community's veteran organizers.
Launching first is Anoyo's Rolling Thunder, which gets
underway Friday afternoon on far-flung Sado Island in the
Sea of Japan. The longest survivor of the current trance party
organizers, Anoyo (bliss or afterworld in Japanese) was founded
in 1997 by Takashi Shiraki and Misao Ishida on the edge of
the first trance boom. Famous for its seminal parties on Niijima
Island, Anoyo started Rolling Thunder on Sado last year at
a site on the northernmost tip of the island, Futatsugame,
so called for two massive rocks that resemble turtles.
The site allows for stunning views of sunset and sunrise and,
providing the weather is better than last year's deluge,
should offer an expansive setting for the all-star lineup
of mostly Japanese DJs and live acts. The top of any trance
bill is the enduring Tsuyoshi, who spearheaded the trance
boom in Japan after imbibing its sounds (and associated mind-altering
substances) in Goa and London in the early '90s. Tsuyoshi
will also be performing with his live techno unit Joujouka.
Also in the lineup are Wrench, a band that mixes sequenced
techno with elements of digital hardcore and punk, downtempo
unit Numb, ambient DJ Hideyo (known as the force behind Bullets
and now in charge of the chill room at Ageha), and Space Shower
VJ Bryan Burton-Lewis in his madcap DJ incarnation...
The Japanese techno DJs who aren't on Sado, meanwhile,
will likely be found on the slopes of Mount Fuji, where veteran
techno honey, DJ/organizer Mayuri holds her annual Metamorphose
party starting Saturday.
With less of a trance bent and more of a focus on diverse
forms of dance music, Metamorphose has in recent years settled
into a site at the quirky old Nihon Land How amusement park
(site of the early Rainbow 2000 parties), high up the flanks
of Japan's spiritual if sullied mountain.
This year's event takes no chances, with repeat visits
by some of the better-received recent acts, including outrageous
Chicago house iconoclast Green Velvet, veteran New York hard
techno spinner Joey Beltram, and Detroiter Suburban Knight,
as well as UK provocateurs Subhead, Si Begg and Jamie Liddel.
In addition to the overseas talent, Metamorphose also boasts
a range of homegrown acts that point to the diversity of Japanese
electronica and experimental music. The Boredoms (in their
Voordoms incarnation) and Merzbow are renowned noisemeisters,
while Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden's blend of
free jazz and electro is unique. The Boom Boom Satellites
and Dub Squad pull off convincing live interpretations of
breakbeat, while Kaoru Inoue and Alex from Tokyo are tasteful
house collage-ists. For those into downtempo and experimental
hip-hop, DJs Kensei and Klock will be on hand...
Finally, this just in: American breakbeat/deep house DJ John
Kelley, a force behind LA's seminal Moontribe parties
of the early '90s, will be a special guest at the hardworking
DJ Kensei's Nuetral party on Friday at Nuts in Shibuya.
The special extended edition of the party will run late into
the morning, and will also feature chill-out sets produced
by Tokyo-based breakbeat/dub label Play Records.
Rolling Thunder@Futatsugame, 8/22,
3pm to 8/24, 11am, ¥7,800 (adv), ¥9,000 (door).
Tel: Anoyona 03-3462-1993. www.anoyo.net
Metamorphose@Nihon Land How, 8/23, 4pm to 8/24, 11am, ¥8,500
(adv), ¥10,000 (door). Info: Metamorphose 03-3499-3291.
Nuetral@Nuts, 8/22, 11pm, ¥3,000. Tel: 03-5466-8814.