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by Don Crispy

Danny Howells

An array of styles represent the diversity of dance music this weekend, with visiting talent and local decks-men waving the banner for global club culture.

A veteran of UK party Renaissance, which has been resident most recently in Tokyo at Womb, turntable maestro Danny Howells touches down for a set this Saturday to assist in the festivities for the club’s fourth anniversary.

With a decade behind the DJ pulpit at venues all over the world, Howells has developed a reputation for his own brand of what he likes to call “deepsexyfuturistictechfunkhouse.” In recent years, he has had residencies at some of the top clubs on the planet, including Home (London) and New York’s much-mourned Twilo. His meticulously mixed sets can be heard on his recent album, Nocturnal Frequencies, as well as part of Global Underground’s Nu Breed series…

Meanwhile, it’s a well-known fact that Detroit techno, the mechanistic dance music that launched the careers of a thousand DJs in the ’80s and ’90s, has been given a second life in Japan. Early pioneers like Derrick May make regular visits (May is due in at Yellow on May 2) and are worshipped as gods, while Japan has its own Detroit stylists in the form of DJ/producers like Ken Ishii.

On Saturday, electronica promoter ArcTokyo, established by Detroit native and recent Tokyo transplant Laura Brown, brings to Air near Shibuya a lesser-known figure of the Detroit diaspora, one whose music rounds out the sharp, metallic edges of the style for a more soulful, melodic sound.

A DJ/producer from Stockholm, Sweden, Aril Brikha initially discovered electronic music through Europop outfits like Depeche Mode, before turning on to the abstract, futuristic sounds of Detroit producers such as Jeff Mills and his Underground Resistance confederates. Unhappy with the response his initial recordings were getting at home, Brikha fired off some demos to his favorite labels Stateside, and was soon being released by none other than Derrick May himself.

For those who sometimes find Detroit techno a bit cold, Brikha’s music is full of warm string lines and easily graspable melodies, the antithesis, interestingly enough, of much of May’s work. Brikha is also renowned for his live sets, which have been appreciated from DEMF in Detroit to Fabric in London, and in his Tokyo debut last year…

Finally, local Aussie expat DJ SMUDJ, organizer of the quirky fetish night Kinky Licks, has a new weekly event happening in Roppongi.
SMUDJ says that Kinky Licks was quite a success and led to some good things, but that because one of the crew left Tokyo, he’s decided to launch his own party. Flash Mode at Vanilla Mood takes the night from quirky new wave pop, to haus muzic and tekno clash. “I’m waving the flag for the Aussie underground, and playing stuff that you really don’t hear much in Tokyo,” says SMUDJ. “The good thing is it’s free to get in and being just down from Roppongi Crossing, it’s a great alternative to the usual music selection you get in this area.”

Womb 4th Anniversary@Womb, 4/3, 11pm, ¥4,000. Tel: 03-5459-3939.

Aril Brikha@Air 4/3, 11pm, ¥3,000. Tel: 03-5784-3386.

Flash Mode@Vanilla Mood, every Wednesday, 10pm, free. Tel: 03-5770-3843.

Credit: Womb