by Don Crispy
|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
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
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.
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),
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.