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by Don Crispy

Portable

Alan Abrahams aka Portable

A South African futurist is in town for a set of techno-minimalist perfection, a new club opens its doors in Daikanyama with a weekend of dub and drum'n'bass, and a Japanese-run New York dance label presents two nights and two takes on house music.

Growing up amid the ruins of post-Apartheid South Africa, Alan Abrahams aka Portable imbibed soul, hip-hop and the African sounds of hi life, and Chicago house. He began to experiment with ways of combining traditional African rhythms with four-to-the-floor house, creating tracks that gave a commentary on the political turmoil of South Africa in the '90s.

Relocating to London in 1997, Abrahams went on to release a string of tracks for marquee labels like Context and Background, developing a reputation for carefully sequenced, darkly beautiful tracks that were difficult to classify, but combined elements of house, minimal techno, and broken beats for a sound sometimes called "micro-tech."

Abrahams's raised profile brought him to Japan last year for his first visit, a mini-tour that resulted in a live set recorded at Ism in Shibuya. The live mix showcased the improvisational laptop approach that allows Abrahams to create the intricately woven, subtle textures that are the hallmark of his Portable moniker.

The upcoming set at the newly refurbished Yellow comes as a production of producer/promoter Eiji Fukuda's fat32 imprint. Fukuda brought Abrahams to Ism last year and has lined up for the upcoming event local, like-minded DJ/producers John Connell and Akiko Kiyama. A new, live Portable album is slated for release following the tour...

A familiar space in Daikanyama, meanwhile, has gotten a big makeover and opened at the top of the month, continuing the move of Tokyo club culture away from its previous epicenters in Roppongi and Shibuya to the new Shibuya-Daikanyama-Ebisu axis.

Run by Koichi Kobayashi, who formerly handled bookings and press for Liquid Room, Unit took over the bottom three floors of the Za House building and according to Kobayashi has been renovated into a capacious, three-floor space with restaurant, dance floor and bar areas.

This weekend sees two events looking at the earth-shaking beats of Jamaican dub, and its British offshoot cousin, drum'n'bass. On Friday, the House of Roots party presents Aba Shanti-I, a UK dub godfather who works both the decks and mikes to devastating effect. Saturday sees another installment of Tokyo's longest running breakbeats party, Drum and Bass Sessions, with London's Kool FM jungle DJ Brockie and his confederates The Ragga Twins on the mikes...

Finally, also in Daikanyama, Air is hosting two events produced by New York transplant Hisa Ishioka's King Street Sounds label. On Friday, King Street presents a release party for veteran DJ/producer Shinichi Osawa's new installment in the label's Mix The Vibe series, Street King. On Sunday, King Street and fellow house promoters World Connection team up to invite DJ Pierre, one of the earliest and most durable of America's house DJs, for the second installment in King Street's King of New York series.

Portable@Yellow, 7/22, 10pm, ¥3,000. Tel: 03-3479-0690.

House of Roots@Unit, 7/16, 11pm, ¥4,000. Tel: 03-5459-8630.

Drum and Bass Sessions@Unit, 7/17, 11:30pm, ¥3,500 (adv), ¥4,000 (door).

Mix the Vibe "Street King"@Air, 7/16, 10pm, ¥3,500. Tel: 03-5784-3386.

King of New York 02@Air, 7/18, 10pm, ¥3,500.


credit: fat32