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by Don Crispy

Wire03

Jeff Mills

Since the mid '90s, massive techno blasts have become a requisite part of Japanese summers; among them, veteran ele-pop creator Takkyu Ishino's Wire events are the behemoths of the lot.

Since launching the party in 1999, Ishino has established Wire as Japan's largest indoor rave. Last year saw the event get even bigger when it moved from the older Yokohama Arena to one of the stadiums built for the World Cup, the glistening Saitama Super Arena.

The move notwithstanding, Ishino has shown consistency in the artistic lineup for next Saturday's Wire; this is a man who knows his corner of the dance music market.

As in previous years, harder-edged electronica artists, mainly from Detroit and Germany, are matched with domestic minimal techno DJs, offering a distinct alternative to Japan's mostly trance-oriented large-scale raves. Once again, Detroit stylist Jeff Mills-a DJ/producer who visits Japan at least two or three times a year in what is a mutual admiration club-is back to show off his clinically perfect DJ technique. Mills, who last year told Metropolis that he rates Japan as "more advanced than most places in Europe and America" when it comes to dance music, will be visiting Japan again in the fall for a repeat of last year's month-long residency at Luners.

Berlin's Love Parade founder Westbam will be on hand to spin his own brand of anthemic techno, while special guest DJs include Luke Slater and Hell. Providing live sets will be Alter Ego from Frankfurt, Technasia from Hong Kong, and Brother's Yard, from, hold on, Zagreb.

Ishino himself will also be behind the decks, but as was the case last year, nothing has been scheduled for his sly live techno-pop unit Denki Groove, which first brought Ishino and partner Pierre Taki to fame a decade ago. Fans of their work will just have to wait for a Denki Groove reunion…

Meanwhile, for those staying in central Tokyo, UK "deep funk" DJ Keb Darge will be behind the decks in a special night next Saturday at French outpost La Fabrique in Shibuya.

A long-time force in the northern soul movement, the Scotsman brought his retro sound to the masses through funk nights that he ran in central London at the tail end of the rare groove scene in the mid-'90s. 1999's Funk Spectrum: Real Funk for Real People, a head-to-head clash between Darge and Josh Davis, aka DJ Shadow, established his reputation worldwide…

Keb Darge

Finally, a pair of real-deal Detroit DJs will be offering Darge competition with an appearance at Yellow's Shibuya sister club Module (ex-Cave), also next Saturday, in the event 313 Love.

A member of powerhouse production trio Three Chairs, in Japan last weekend for the outdoor Metamorphose party, Rick "The Godson" Wilhite has also worked as a regular at Derrick May's Transmat label events. Joining him is Malik Pittman, another DJ/producer viewed as one of the rising second-generation exponents of the mechanical, abstract Detroit sound.

Keb Darge@La Fabrique, 8/30, 11pm, ¥3,000. Tel: 5428-5100

313 Love@Module, 8/30, 10pm, ¥3,000. Tel: 3464-8432. www.clubmodule.com

Wire03@Saitama Super Arena, 8/30, 6pm-late, ¥10,500. Info: Odyssey 3796-9999. www.WIRE03.com

credit: Odyssey, La Fabrique