by Don Crispy
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 clubs 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 Yorks
much-mourned Twilo. His meticulously mixed sets can be heard
on his recent album, Nocturnal Frequencies, as well as part
of Global Undergrounds Nu Breed series
Meanwhile, its 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, Brikhas
music is full of warm string lines and easily graspable melodies,
the antithesis, interestingly enough, of much of Mays
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
SMUDJ says that Kinky Licks was quite a success and led to
some good things, but that because one of the crew left Tokyo,
hes 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. Im waving the flag for the Aussie
underground, and playing stuff that you really dont
hear much in Tokyo, says SMUDJ. The good thing
is its free to get in and being just down from Roppongi
Crossing, its 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: