by Don Crispy
Joaquin "Joe" Claussell
|"I was immediately
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.
Club Cube 4 Peace@Cube 326, 9/11, 10pm, ¥2,000. Tel: