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by Don Crispy

WIRE04

Takkyu Ishino

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 the lot.

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 raves.

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 Tanaka.

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 you.

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 for details.

credit: Sunrise Corporation