by Don Crispy
The Archaic Revival 2004
The rock festival season may be over, but the trance party
season is reaching its climax
Japan can make a pretty good case for having the world's
busiest psychedelic trance scene. Many countries seem to have
long since regulated almost out of existence the kind of huge
psy-trance raves that go off here almost uninhibited by legal
oversight most summer weekends. Until two years ago, in fact,
even the psychoactive mushrooms favored by ravers were legal
And if Japan is the world center for the trance faith, then
Solstice Music is one of its strongest churches. The promoter
stages some of the country's most ambitious events,
with its Solstice Music Festival and New Year's countdown
parties drawing crowds into the five figures.
This year's end-of-the-summer bash in the countryside
north of Tokyo brings together veterans from the inception
of trance over a decade ago with recent innovators, representing
a broad spectrum of the highly internationalized trance scene.
Topping the Archaic Revival bill is GMS (Growling Mad Scientists),
the live incarnation of DJs Bansi and Riktam. The pair have
kept partygoers across the world spellbound for most of the
past decade with their polished take on trance. Also performing
live will be Etnica, another production unit who also perform
under their DJ names Max and Maurizio. From Italy, Etnica
offer a rather mellow, accessible interpretation of what can
sometimes be a very aggressive form of music.
Rounding out the live acts will be sets by Wrecked Machines,
a young one-man act from Brazil currently making waves in
trance circles, and Bio-Tonic, a French trio known for their
The DJ lineup starts with an international cast including
veteran hands Dimitri D.K.N., scheduled for a marathon three-hour
set, before moving on to encompass some of the live acts in
their DJ incarnations.
The party will also, as is tradition, showcase some of Japan's
strongest psychedelic DJs. Kay Nakayama has brought together
the syrupy textures of chill out sounds with the musicianship
of jazz and world music, including his Intelligent Jazz unit
formed with renowned fusion drummer Akira Jimbo. Solstice
resident and label manager Ryo as well as Solstice Music's
European representative and resident DJ Igor, meanwhile also
know a thing or two about whipping up a crowd.
For a taste of what to expect, Solstice has recently released
a number of CDs by artists on the Archaic Revival bill, including
new discs by GMS, Etnica, Wrecked Machines, Bio-Tonic and
Despite its name, the venue for the party in the Nasu highland
region north of Tokyo is not the site of a hot spring as one
might think in Japan, but of a cool, spring-fed pond.
Solstice's Chigusa Kondo says that this year the promoter
decided to do something more focused, but that Solstice intends
to return next year with a new and expanded Solstice Music
Festival at a brand-new venue.
And for those of you wondering about the other big end-of-the-summer
trance event, Vision Quest's The Gathering is slated
for September 18-20 at Palcall Tsumagoi ski resort in Gunma
Prefecture with a full caste of regulars on the bill. See
Vision Quest's website for details.
Sep 4 & 5, open 9am, start noon,
¥8,500 (adv), ¥10,000 (door). Kurobane Springs,
Tochigi Prefecture. Tel: D&N 03-5352-7666. Info: solstice23.com.
Tour bus leaves from Shinjuku and Yokohama. Info: JTB 03-5796-5446
or email ARCHAIC@itd.jtb.co.jp.
credits: Solstice Music