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