by Don Crispy
|Pharrell Williams (left)
and Chad Hugo
Among the many intriguing events going on
this weekend, a few of the more notable include: a visit by
one of England's pioneering chill-out DJs, a DJ set
by the world's hottest hip-hop production duo, and
an appearance by two of London's club-jazz trendsetters
as part of an ongoing festival looking at the intersection
of club music and jazz. Read on for more
For the roots of chill-out techno, look back to 1985, when
Mixmaster Morris launched his Mongolian Hip Hop Show on pirate
radio. Along with the Orb, Morris was one of the artists to
set the template for ambient dub, whose chilled beats tired
clubbers used to come down after a hard night of slamming
it on the dance floor to the faster BPM sounds of acid house.
Morris now makes his umpteenth return to Tokyo as an established
don of techno, one who is respected not only for recordings
like his Irresistible Force albums, but for giving acts from
Aphex Twin to Ken Ishii their first press, through his longtime
column for Mixmag. Morris-also known as a gadfly of
club culture for his criticism of corporate dance music-will
be in town as part of the second-anniversary celebrations
for Module in Shibuya, and will be spinning alongside the
Ongaku+Deeperama crew with resident experimental electronica
DJs Terre Thaemliz, Ken Hidaka and more
If Morris is a DJ who hardly requires an introduction, our
next act are so omnipresent you would have had to be living
in North Korea not to have heard of them.
Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, the production duo known
as the Neptunes, have been pretty much unavoidable these past
few years. Not only have they produced tracks for Britney
Spears, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Beyonce and a slew of other
A-list celebs, but their "live" band, N.E.R.D.
has been something of a sensation as well.
N.E.R.D. brought their act to Ageha@Studio Coast earlier this
year as one of the first bands to play the new bayside venue,
a surprisingly under-attended gig (poor advance publicity)
that nevertheless presented a more accessible, vulnerable
side than Williams offers in his bare-chested, lover-man hip-hop
persona. The show also saw Williams dragging out an embarrassed
Nigo, honcho of Japan's wildly popular Bathing Ape
(aka Bape) hip-hop fashion label, for a quick bow.
Williams now looks set to repay the favor by appearing on
Sunday at Shibuya superclub Womb to help Nigo celebrate his
label's tenth anniversary in an event that will also
feature exclusive live performances by emerging artists from
the Neptunes' new Startrak label, Clipse, Rosco P.
Coldchain and Fam-lay, as well as DJ sets by Cipha Sounds
and Japan's own Def Jam chick, DJ Kaori. Now if Williams
would only stop flashing that Star Trek hand sign
Finally, this month's Tokyo Crossover Jazz Festival,
which showcases the budding club jazz/nu jazz/jazz-tronika
scene, sees two of west London's most stylish hep-cats
in town at the venerable Yellow in Nishi-Azabu.
As resident DJs at the Knotting Hill Art Club's Inspiration
Information nights, Patrick Forge and Phil Asher are ushering
the soul and acid jazz of previous decades into the present
by reinventing it as part of the recent broken beats movement.
Forge is also a member of noted jazz-funk outfit Da Lata,
who have a new album due out by year's end, while Asher
works with heavyweight New York house icon Francois K, when
he's not behind the decks in his other residency at
London's Ministry of Sound.
Ongaku+Deeperama@Module, 11/1, 10pm,
¥3,000. Tel: 03-3464-8432
Bape 10th Anniversary@Womb, 11/2, 7pm, ¥5,000 (adv),
¥5,500 (door). Tel: 03-5459-3939
Inspiration Information Nippon Tour@Yellow, 11/2, 10pm, ¥3,500.