by Don Crispy
Since the mid-'90s, massive techno blasts have become
integral to Japanese summers. Among them, veteran ele-pop
creator Takkyu Ishino's events are the behemoths of
Since launching his WIRE event in 1999, Ishino has established
it as Japan's largest indoor rave. This year ups the
ante even further, expanding to a two-day fest even as it
returns to Yokohama Arena.
The move notwithstanding, Ishino has shown consistency in
the artistic lineup for next weekend's WIRE; this is
a man who knows his corner of the dance music market.
As in previous years, harder-edged electronica artists, mainly
from Detroit and Detroit techno-influenced circles in Germany
and Japan form the core of the lineup, providing a distinct
alternative to Japan's mostly trance-oriented outdoor
Once again, influential Detroit stylist Jeff Mills-a
DJ/producer who visits Japan a couple of times a year-is
back to demonstrate his clinically perfect DJ technique. Berlin's
Love Parade founder Westbam will be behind the decks to spin
his own brand of anthemic techno with other repeaters such
as Luke Slater, DJ Hell, and Japanese DJs Ken Ishii and Fumiya
Ishino himself will be behind the decks, and following a few
years' absence, the witty ele-pop unit that first brought
him fame along with partner Pierre Taki in the early '90s,
Denki Groove are also on the bill. The pair have just issued
a compilation retrospective album, Singles and Strikes, while
Ishino has been a hive of activity with two edgier, more dancefloor-oriented
solo albums released this spring, Title#1, and Title#2+#3,
both out on Sony's Ki/oon imprint.
Finally, this year's WIRE will also provide the Japan
farewell for legendary UK techno innovators Orbital, who have
just released what they are calling their ninth and last LP,
The Blue Album, distributed here in Japan by Beat Records...
Meanwhile, the psychedelic trance wave may have subsided somewhat
since cresting in the mid- to late '90s, but outdoor
trance parties are still very much alive and kicking, thank
This summer's first big do comes in the form of the
Summer Arcade 04, produced by veteran trance promoters Arcadia.
Scheduled for next weekend in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture,
the festival provides a typical cross-section of the global
movement that is the psychedelic trance community, with DJs
and live acts from Europe, the Middle East, Japan and elsewhere.
Among the DJs slated to appear is Domino, one of only a few
expatriate female DJs in Japan, and a veteran of the psychedelic
trance scene from its early days in Goa. Domino has just released
her debut artist album, Starlight Over the Ocean, on Japan's
Elejam imprint, and to help further the careers of emerging
women DJs, is sponsoring a DJ mix contest.
Hopeful female DJs should submit their mixes on CD by July
22 to Domino via Elejam (www.elesal.com/elejam).
The winner, to be selected by Domino and the Elejam team,
will receive a free copy of TRAKTOR DJ Studio 2.5, the top
DJ mixing software.
WIRE04 takes place at Yokohama Arena
on July 17-18. See concert listings for details.
Summer Arcade 04 takes place on July 17-19 at Pilatus Tatashina
Ropeway Snow Resort. See www.arcadia-music.net