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by Don Crispy

Joaquin "Joe" Claussell

"I was immediately blown away."

Following last month's visits by Junior Vasquez, Danny Krivit and Francois K, another titan of New York house jocks will be behind the decks at Yellow as part of his Sacred Rhythm Tour on Saturday.

Joaquin "Joe" Claussell is a DJ/producer who needs almost no introduction. A veteran of the early days of New York house and its legendary venues, Loft and Paradise Garage, Claussell went on to form the Body and Soul DJ triumvirate with Krivit and Francois K in the mid-'90s. Until closing last year, their weekly Sunday afternoon event at Vinyl in lower Manhattan drew dance aficionados worldwide to its spiritual, rootsy take on house music.

Claussell's recorded output both as an artist and as head of the Spiritual Life Music imprint has also reflected this earthy approach, with plenty of live instrumentals, vocals and Latin, Brazilian and African influences on albums such as Mix the Vibe (1999, NiteGrooves), Language (1999, Ibadan) and Music Is...A Reason to Celebrate (2002, Urban Theory).

Prior to a recent Body and Soul visit to Tokyo, Metropolis had the chance to chat with Claussell about his career and current thinking on house music. The DJ/producer recalled the first time he visited Japan, a decade ago. "I was first invited to Sapporo in '93," he said. "It was my first time ever going to Japan, and I was immediately blown away. Here I was on the other side of the Earth playing music in a room full of music lovers who didn't speak, or barely understood, English. Yet they were into the music more than some people and places in America, as well as knowing most of the music I was playing. It was amazing."

In subsequent years Claussell has become a regular visitor, and has been able to observe Japan's rapidly developing dance music culture. "As the years progressed, I've seen more Japanese DJs and producers emerge," he says. "And that's a wonderful thing."

Turning to New York, Claussell sees house music facing serious challenges from the city government. "All of these new laws in New York came into effect, closing down some of our major clubs and regulating dancing in small places such as bars," he says. "This had a serious affect on music as a whole in New York, but I see that things are slowly coming back to normal. It has to. This is very important, especially today, especially for house music. We need all the exposure that we can get..."

Meanwhile, a series of events being staged this fall by digital artists/activists Planet Generation Global Move (PG2M) for global peace gets underway Friday with an all-nighter at the bayside venue Cube 326. With over 30 DJs and VJs over the club's five floors, the party will span a range of sounds, from breaks to trance and house, culminating in a live performance by PG2M's King, who will play from his forthcoming CD, Rastafari Hyper Eros. The events will culminate on December 13 with Ze Global Party 4 a U-Man Planet, a nonstop, 24-hour online concert/party to be transmitted from Tokyo, Addis Ababa, NYC and Paris, with international artists coming together to remind the world of the famine threatening Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

Sacred Rhythm Tour@Yellow, 9/6, 10pm, ¥3,500. Tel: 3479-0690.
www.club-yellow.com

Club Cube 4 Peace@Cube 326, 9/11, 10pm, ¥2,000. Tel: 5439-5293. www.cube326.com

credit: Yellow