by Don Crispy
U.N.K.L.E. featuring Ian Brown
of U.N.K.L.E., John Acquaviva
Salem's Innovation Sessions, which
since last year have created a dialog among creative types
by regularly introducing DJs, video artists and players from
the fashion, art and media worlds in seminar-style workshops,
now opens up to the public with an after-party headlined by
three icons of '90s UK youth culture.
As U.N.K.L.E., James Lavelle and his changing cast of collaborators
were influential in a developing a mid-'90s downtempo/breakbeats
sound that was often named after the series of definitive
Headz compilations they released from Lavelle's Mo'Wax
label. Mo'Wax's stripped-down sound also struck
a chord in Japan, with producer Kudo joining U.N.K.L.E. for
a period, and Japanese abstract hip-hop luminary DJ Krush
contributing tracks to Mo'Wax compilations.
Following an extended hiatus, U.N.K.L.E. returned-this
time pared down to Lavelle and Richard File-in 2003
with their first release in five years, Never Never Land.
The album also featured contributions from the other headliner
at Womb tomorrow, Manchester survivor and former singer for
the Stone Roses, Ian Brown, in yet another indication of the
continuing cross-fertilization between electronica and rock
Meanwhile, over at Core next Friday, one of Canada's
most battle-hardened house DJs drops in for a rare visit.
Before his Japan tour, Metropolis caught up briefly with John
Acquaviva by email to hear about the DJ's latest activities.
In addition to the expansive, underground-flavored From Saturday
to Sunday mix compilation series, Acquaviva has been, along
with fellow Canadian Richie Hawtin, one of the strongest proponents
of the Final Scratch DJ/computer interface system.
The system, which allows DJs to manipulate MP3s via turntables-obviating
the need to carry around crates of records-was three
years in the making, according to Acquaviva. It's part
of the increasing encroachment of technology into the world
of vinyl, he says. "I think that over these next years,
DJing will truly become more demanding, more technology will
be integrated for sure, as is now starting to happen."
But unlike the vision being put forward by Lavelle and company,
Acquaviva decries attempts to fit rock 'n' roll
principles to dance culture. "I still believe that
in dance culture, the best balance is an equal and three-way
combination: the people, the club and the DJ. Not one of the
three should be bigger than the other in my perfect world
Finally, also on Friday at nearby Yellow, Chicago DJ Mark
Grant will be holding court from behind the decks, along with
a posse of domestic talent. The party, Real Grooves, is a
new one charged with the mission of introducing to Tokyo audiences
DJs who may be well-known overseas but who are still relative
newcomers to Japan.
A stablemate of highly regarded San Francisco DJ Mark Farina's
Om label, Grant is known for imparting a jazz touch to his
house mixes. He'll be accompanied by local expat DJ/impresario
Marshall (Solid, Nuphoria) and Kaori Ichikawa, aka Lady Something
Different, with live sets from Goo Punch! and Keigo Emura
providing an element of the unexpected.
Salem Innovation Nights@Womb, 2/27,
11pm, ¥3,500. Tel: 03-5459-3939.
John Acquaviva@Core, 3/5, 10pm, ¥3,000 (adv), ¥3,500
(door). Tel: 03-3470-5944.
Real Grooves@Yellow, 3/5, 10pm, ¥3,500. Tel: 03-3479-0690.
The Filter Group