Issue Index

Features
  Mini Features
  Cultural Features
  Life in Japan
  Big in Japan
  Rant & Rave
  Cars & Bikes
  Health & Beauty
Jobfinder
  Money Talks
  Tokyo Tech
  Web Watch
  Food & Drink
  Features
  Restaurant Reviews
  Bar Reviews
  Word of Mouth
  Travel Features
  Japan Travel
  International Travel
  Travelogue
  Art
  Artifacts
  Fashion
  Tokyo Talk
  In Store
  Buyline
  Japan Beat
  CD Reviews
  In Person
  Concerts
  Clubbing
bar news and views
bar news and views
bar news and views
 LIVE CONCERTS

Popular
Jazz/World
Classical


776: Yoko Ono
775: Boredoms
772: Kurofunedan
768: Merzbow
766: Oshiripenpenz
765: YMCK
763: Shizuka Kudo
762: Mo’some Tonebender
761: Soil & “Pimp” Sessions
756: Tokyo Conflux 2008
754: Ed Woods
753: 8otto
751: Para
750: Fuji Rock Festival 2008
748: Katan Hiviya
745: Who the Bitch
742: Low IQ 01
740: Shake Forward!
738: iLL
736: Tobu Ongakusai
733: Yanokami
731: One Night in Naha
729: Shugo Tokumaru
727: Japan Nite
725: Getting out the vote
723: J-Melo
721: Electric Eel Shock
717: GO!GO!7188
715: Yura Yura Teikoku
712: Midori
710: Seigen Ono
708: Wrench
707: Shinichi Osawa
704: M-flo
701: Freesscape
699: Versailles
698: Fuji Rock Festival 2007
697: Uri Nakayama
695: UA
693: Shonen Knife
690: Kemuri
689: Ikochi
686: Best Japanese Albums
684: Monkey Majik
682: Shibusashirazu Orchestra
681: Jon Lynch and Juice magazine
677: DJ Kentaro
675: Sadistic Mikaela Band
673: Osaka Monaurail
672: Teriyaki Boyz featuring Kanye West
666: Oki
662: Amanojaku
659: Polysics
657: Oceanlane
655: Cornelius
651: Bomb Factory
642: Soul Flower Mononoke Summit
640: African JAG
637: Buffalo Daughter
635: Ryukyu Underground
633: Mazri no Matsuri
631: Mono
629: Coldfeet
628: Crystal Kay
625: J-pop goes def
623: Ken Yokoyama
621: Zazen Boys
619: Monday Michiru
613: PE’Z
611: Afrirampo
609: Sherbets
603: Double Famous
601: Meltone
599: Michiyo Yagi
597: Hifana
594: Guitar Wolf
592: Rip Slyme
590: Little Creatures
588: Bliss Out on Hougaku
586: Hoppy Kamiyama
584: Bliss Out on Hougaku
582: Mazri no Matsuri
580: Mari Natsuki
575: Towa Tei
573: The Beautiful Losers
571: Fantastic Plastic Machine
569: Nippop
567: Brahman
560: Shonen Knife
558: Nice Guy Jin
556: Toru Yonaha and Kinohachi
554: Hiromi Uehara
551: Nicotine
549: Ego-Wrappin'
545: Eastern Youth
538: Inside tracks
536: Outside the Box
534: Rainbow Warrior
529: Breaking the mold
527: Sadao China
524: The sound of cyberpunk
522: Ryuichi Sakamoto's Chasm
516: Ken Yokoyama
514: Jan Linton
512: Jazz messengers
509/10: Naoko Terai
507: Akiko Yano
504: Kotaro Oshio: Solo Strings
502: Refurbished rhythms
494: Resonance
492: Samurai.fm: cyber-swordsmen
490: Loop Junktion
488: Ryukyu Underground: Okinawan Odyssey
484: Gocoo: Reinventing taiko
481: Leonard Eto
479: Gaijin à Go-Go
477: Enemy music
475: Yoriko Ganeko with Chuei Yoshikawa
472: DJ Kaori
469: Yuki
467: Wrench
464: Young and swingin
462: Jazzy Live 2003 from Blue Breath
460: Shonen Knife
457/458: Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden
456: Yuka Kamebuchi & The Voices of Japan
454: Jude
452: Kokoo
451: BBQ Chickens
449: Man and the machinery
446: Crystal Kay
443: Lava
440: Jazz on Leave
437: Rip Slyme
434: Boom Boom Satellites
432: "Rambling" Steve Gardner
430: Dry & Heavy
428: The Birth of OE
426: Anmitsu
424: Happy Kamiyam
422: Shing02
420: Supercar
418: Ryuichi Sakamoto
416: Kick The Can Crew
414: King Brothers
412: Kazufumi Miyazawa
410: Japanese Independent Music
408: The Yoshida Brothers
406: Love Psychedelico
393: Mikidozan
391: Shelter 10th Anniversary
389: The beautiful losers
387: Junpei Shiina
383: Umekuichi
381: P'ez
379: Boredoms
377: Dai Sakakibara
375: Dreams Come True
373: eX-Girl
370: Pizzicato Five
368: Dub Squad
366: Buffalo Daughter
364: Phew Phew L!ve
362: Fumio Yasuda
360: Boom Boom Satellites
358: Kei Kobayashi
356: Cool Drive Makers
354: Bird
351: United Future Organization
349: Audio Active
347: Ondekoza
345: Misia
343: Brahman
341: Puffy
339: Ryukyu Festival 2000
337: Rappagariya
335: Lisa Ono
333: Air Jam 2000
331: Feed
327: Tenkoo Orchestra
325: Wrench
323: Sadao Watanabe
321: Dry & Heavy
319: Bonny Pink
317: Sakura Hills Disco 3000
315: Aco
313: Rovo
311: The Mad Capsule Markets
309: Coldfeet

Samurai.fm: cyber-swordsmen

Matt Cheetham (left), and Hasham Ahmad

You may have noticed bold advertisements in these pages for an Internet radio station in recent months. Curious, I sat down with Samurai.fm founders Matt Cheetham and Hasham Ahmad to get to the bottom of this new addition to the expatriate media scene.

The inspiration, says Cheetham, a freelance music photographer based in Tokyo, came about back in the spring when he was thinking of uploading music onto his photography website. The lack of good electronic music radio in Tokyo gave Cheetham the idea to start the station. Building on his contacts in both Tokyo and his most recent home, London, he began to talk to labels and artists.

Fellow Londoner Ahmad (who is also development manager for Crisscross, publisher of Metropolis) came on board soon after, taking responsibility for technically making the station happen. “My background is in computing and music,” he says. “As soon as the idea was there I started contacting people like mad, getting them to submit, getting them involved in it. By the time the actual technical side was sorted out—it took a few weeks to decide which servers to use, things like that—we had some steam going and everything seemed to come together.”

Log on to Samurai.fm (www.samurai.fm) and you’ll see a red and black homepage with clean lines and a simple, bilingual menu with schedules and descriptions of the many producers and DJs already hosting one-hour shows. Another click on the “listen” button, and soon your sound software is logging on to the station’s mp3 stream. In this writer’s case, the signal came through Apple’s iTunes, which opened automatically and was soon streaming cutting-edge drum 'n’ bass, house, breakbeats and all manner of underground dance music.

Before going online at the end of May, Cheetham and Ahmad decided to base their station in the US, which they say has a better legal and technical framework for Internet radio than Japan. “When we were looking to start the station, it proved much easier to go with an American server,” says Cheetham.

“The American Internet broadcasting policy is pretty up-to-date in that you can get a cheap broadcasting license,” adds Ahmad. “One of the problems in Japan—and maybe why it hasn’t taken off here—is that [the country] doesn’t yet have a legal structure in place for webcasting.”

Amazingly for high-tech Japan, Samurai.fm seems to be the first Japan-focused Internet broadcaster of electronica. As innovators, Cheetham and Ahmad were able to sign on some of Japan’s most influential DJs, including Tsuyoshi from the trance scene and veteran house DJ Ko Kimura, as well as other big-name international DJs like Danny Rampling and A Guy Called Gerald.

Having some of Japan’s biggest names in techno and key UK clubs like Fabric taking part has drawn interest from overseas. Cheetham says they’ve received hits from over 30 countries and are now averaging over 750 listeners per day. Yet it’s still a two-man affair, which entails a lot of running around to pick up CD-ROMs of new shows artists have burned.

Samurai.fm broadcasts one-hour mp3 sets that are uploaded onto a server and then automatically streamed through a broadcast service called Live 365. The remote nature means that DJs can contribute music from anywhere—which should eventually put an end to the running around and picking up CDs. “We try and push the server because it makes things so much easier. Artists can upload shows from England or wherever,” says Ahmad. “It’s decentralized in that there’s no studio, which also means people can contribute on their own time.”

While at this point still a labor of love (and a costly one at that: performing copyrights are paid out of pocket), the pair are encouraged by their listener figures to dream big. “As a content provider, we can provide to anyone digitally,” says Ahmad. “Our focus will be mobile streaming. Telecoms are making huge money on this, and the content in Japan is minimal for our kind of thing. So if we can provide streaming audio on the Internet and mobile, we can get some revenue for that.”

“China’s the next big market,” adds Cheetham, “and penetration of this kind of music is very limited. If we can get established while the scene is taking off there, it could be really big.”



top