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774: Presidents of the United States of America
773: Keith
767: Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute
764: Kaiser Chiefs
760: Tim and Puma Mimi
759: Ice Cube
758: Vinyl Soul
757: Bajofondo
755: The Troubadours
752: Spiritualized at Summer Sonic
749: Cajun Dance Party
744: Heat and Noise
739: The Checks
737: Blue King Brown
735: Asian Dub Foundation
734: Scouting For Girls
732: Buzzcocks
730: Old Man River
728: The Kills
726: KT Tunstall
725: Jason Collett
722: Brotherís Sisterís Daughter
720: Sufjan Stevens
716: Gossip
714: The Go! Team
713: Cafť Tacvba
711: Celtic Woman
709: Jack PeŮate
706: Soulive
703: Animal Collective
703: Reverend and The Makers
702: Battles
700: Dinosaur Jr
696: The Polyphonic Spree
695: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
692: Golden Age of Rock
691: One Fine Day
688: Rhombus
687: Corneille
685: The Cinematic Orchestra
683: 747s
680: Pete Murray
679: Mice Parade
678: Enter Shikari
676: The View
674: !!!
671: Donavon Frankenreiter
670: Herbie Hancock
669: Krystal Meyers
668: The Roots
666: Lily Allen
664: Two for Christmas
663: The Datsuns
661: Peaches
660: Tapes ín Tapes
658: Mystery Jets
656: Shayne Ward
654: The Beat
653: Eumir Deodato
652: Mt. Fuji Calling
650: Juno Reactor
649: Yo La Tengo
648: Hyde Park Music Festival
647: Juana Molina
646: Sierra Leoneís Refugee All Stars
645: Tool
644: Juan Formell y Los Van Van
643: The Benevento-Russo Duo
641: TV On The Radio
639: Summer Music Festival Guide 2006
638: ESG
636: Editors
634: Greenroom
632: Ben Harper
630: Matmos
627: Arctic Monkeys
626: Erykah Badu
624: Cake
622: Bent Left
620: Mogwai
618: Deerhoof
617: The Album Leaf
616: Tristan Prettyman
614-615: 10, 9, 8....
613: Madonna
612: John Tropea and Incognito
610: Boy
608: Underworld
607: Niyaz
606: The Beautiful Girls
605: Miho Hatori
604: Doves
600: Bang Gang
598: Feist
596: Fantomas
595: Hyde Park Music Festival
593: Little Barrie
591: Juliette Lewis
589: James Chance & The Contortions
588: Carnival: Vice Bongo 1st Anniversary Party
585: Stereophonics
583: Little Joe Washington
581: Caetano Veloso
579: Maximo Park
578: Moe
577: Death From Above 1979
576: Destiny’s Child
575: Megadeth
574: Bandstand
572: Ozomatli
570: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
568: Prefuse 73
566: Pat Metheny
565: Rachel Yamagata
564: The Shins
563: The Music
561-562: Metropolis music survey 2004
559: Blues Explosion
557: The Libertines
555: G. Love
554: Dropkick Murphys
553: Kasabian
552: Fertile Ground
551: Recliner
550: Jah Shaka
548: Faithless
547: Tokyo Rotation
546: Yokosuka Reggae Super Bash
545: The Roots
544: True People's Celebration
543: Trans Europe Fes
542: Matthew Sweet
541: Heaven Artists
540: Manolito y su Trabuco
539: Rabble rouser
537: The Offspring
535: Janet Kay with Omar and Thriller U
533: Critters Buggin’
532: Cyndi Lauper
531: Cat Power
530: Standing in the shadows
528: Missy Elliott
527: Stereolab
526: Organic Groove
525: Questions of the day
523: Tough Cookie
521: Conversion
520: Iggy's inner artist
519: Control freak chic
518: Down to the Wire
517: Incubus
516: Kraftwerk
515: Black Eyed Peas
514: Pretenders
513: Sonicmania
511: Suburban funk boys
509/10: Incognito
508: Celtic Xmas 2003
507: Limp Bizkit
506: Robert Randolph and the Family Band
505: Out on a limb
503: Electraglide
501: Super Furry Animals
499: Geezer's groove
498: Ashanti
497: Syn city
496: Slacker rock rules!
495: Television
494: Lou Reed
493: Joao Gilberto
492: The Used
491: Gypsy Summer 2003
490: The Lucksmiths
489: Maxi Priest & Shaggy
488: Chuck Berry
487: Summer Sonic
486: The redheaded stepchild makes good
485: Positive punk mom
484: Duran Duran
483: Unapologetically acoustic
482: Break and Remake
481: Ron Sexmith
480: Folk Implosion
479: The Brand New Heavies
478: The Blood Brothers
477: Eminem
476: The Kills
475: Jackson Browne
474: N.E.R.D.
473: Shred a tabloid, make music
472: Garage Redux
471: Bringing the jams east
470: Asian Dub Foundation
469: Badly Drawn Boy
468: Massive Attack
467: Teenage Fanclub
466: The All Wave Grrls
465: J. Mascis + the Fog
464: Catching up with Sonic Youth
463: Deep Forest
462: Magic Rockout
461: Jurassic 5
460: Snuff
459: Queens of the Stone Age
457/8: On the phone: The Jeevas
456: K-Ci & JoJo and The Roots
455: Sleater-Kinney
454: Beast Feast
453: Contrasts in young UK rock
452: Tahiti 80
451: Pink
450: The Artist (no longer) formerly known as..
449: Paul McCartney Previewed
447: Jamiroquai
446: On the phone: Taxiride
445: Bad Religion
444: Jennifer Love Hewitt
443: Camp in Asagiri Jam
442: The Cinematic Orchestra
441: On the phone: Moby
440: True People's Celebration
439: Roots Revival
438: The politics of sampling
437: Summer Sonic sampler
436: The Jazz Mandolin Project
435: Indie icons
434: Cato Salsa Experience
433: Get's Bossa Nova 2002
432: Janet Kay with Omar
431: Kottonmouth Kings
430: Bowes & Morley
429: Christina Milian
428: Elvis Costello
427: Space Kelly
426: Diana Krall
425: Jay-Z
424: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
423: The Brian Setzer Orchestra
422: Weezer
421: The Music
420: Lenny Kravitz
419: Speech
418: Tool
417: Green Day
416: Chuck Berry & James Brown
415: Ozomatli
414: Britney Spears
413: Music Mary J. Blige
412: Incubus
411: The Chemical Brothers
410: David Byrne
409: The Prodigy
408: Roger Walters
407: Ozzy Osbourne
406: Lisa Loeb
405: Aerosmith
404: Garbage
403: Sloan
402: Jamiriquoi
401: Park Tower Blues Festival
400: Mercury Rev
399: Bjork
398: The Isley Brothers
397: Janet Jackson
396: Ian Brown
395: Tortoise Orchestra
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel
392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana

by Dan Grunebaum

Tokyo Rotation

Mercurial New Yorker Bill Laswell reflects on the New York-Tokyo connection behind next week’s Pit Inn shows

“There wasn’t a conscious effort to be back and forth from Japan, it just kind of fell in place,” bassist and producer Bill Laswell explains over the phone from his New York City home.

With a Fuji Rock Festival appearance by his Praxis trio followed earlier this month by a set from his Tabla Beat Science project at the True People’s Celebration, to be followed yet again next week when Laswell and fellow New York experimental musician John Zorn set up shop at jazz club Shinjuku Pit Inn, Laswell will have performed in Japan three times in less than two months.

Visits by the veteran downtown New York fixture to Pit Inn have been an annual affair in recent years, but this year’s flurry of invitations came out of the blue. “It was slow for a while but lately everyone is interested,” Laswell says. “It feels to me that there’s more interest and possibilities for live performance than ever now.”

Laswell and Zorn began their annual residencies at Pit Inn a few years ago as a means for them to gig with the many Japanese musicians they had gotten to know through years of interaction. Laswell had been coming to Japan regularly since 1983 both to perform and for production work, and had always made an effort to get out to the clubs to acquaint himself with what he describes as a vital Japanese underground music scene. Zorn himself was an on-and-off resident of the country for some years. Many of the Japanese musicians, meanwhile, had either lived in New York or toured there over the years.

Laswell’s and Zorn’s Tokyo Rotation residency pairs them with some of Japan’s more colorful improvisers. The gigs have gone so well in recent years that Laswell and Zorn this year decided to expand what had been a two-day event into a five-night extravaganza. “We started out doing it just for fun, and to collaborate with musicians in Japan,” offers Laswell. “Then it kind of turned into something that could be a little more developed when we saw that we were getting a good audience.

Bassist and producer Bill Laswell has been following Japan's underground music since 1983

“The place is very small, and it’s interesting to play in small places after playing to a festival audience. Something happens between the audience and musicians in a small venue, and it’s always fun to do that.”

The five nights match Laswell and Zorn with a shifting cast of musicians that includes iconoclastic trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, laptop guru Ikue Mori, and free-thinking drummer from Rovo, Hideo Yamaki, just to name a few. The third night serves as a CD release party for yet another Laswell-Japan project, Soup, a trio with experimental guitarist Yoshihide Otomo and drummer Yasuhiro Yoshigaki.

Laswell says the challenge—and the reward—at Pit Inn is to come up with something different each night. “It’s totally improvised: the idea is to try and develop different languages and sub-languages within these groups. So there is in a sense a repertoire, but it’s improvised, and because it’s improvised it has the potential to go places no one would expect.”

Long known as a wide-ranging musician and improviser who pushes musical boundaries, Laswell, 49, has been in the public eye since the early ’80s for his work with musical melting-pot units like Material, his instantly recognizable subterranean bass playing on albums for Mick Jagger and Peter Gabriel, and for his groundbreaking work as a producer of over 700 albums such as, among others, Herbie Hancock’s electro smash hit, Sound-System, which won him a Grammy.

Laswell says being an improviser allows him to approach his production work, which most recently included a Sting song for the Olympic soundtrack, in unorthodox ways. “The live playing—because so much is improvised—I think is a really good influence on the production, because you find yourself not treating recorded music so differently. You have the option to do it again or arrange it differently, but I think it’s good to keep it fresh. It adds a random element to it, which can make it interesting or exciting.”

Even with a project like Tabla Beat Science, which pairs him with masters of musical traditions such as Indian tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, Laswell eschews a studied approach. “I chose not to learn to play the music, in order to create a contrast. I don’t at all try to mimic what they do any more than the turntable is trying to be a tabla. So we try to make contrasts, and that’s what makes it an interesting group: everyone brings something different. I’m not someone who really studies music, I’m more interested in getting right to the interaction with the individuals.”

As much a musical “fixer” as he is bassist or producer, Laswell, through his many projects and record labels, tries to manifest a larger vision. “I think my priority is always going to be to try to expose certain music that was an influence or had value, or artists that haven’t always had the right opportunities. I’ve tried to create opportunities for people to make recordings and do concerts, and have been very conscious of introducing people who might be able to do something together or who might be able to come up with something new, no matter how different their backgrounds.”

Sep 22-26, 8 & 10pm, ¥5,000 (adv), ¥5,500 (door). Shinjuku Pit Inn. Tel: 03-3354-2024.

Photo credit: Slam Unagami

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