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502: Timo Maas
501: Neptunes
500: Halloween hi-jinks


by Don Crispy

Tokyo Dance Music Festival 2004

A five-day fest culminates in a giant bayside rave


Part of the fun of going out is club-hopping, or hashigo, as Japanese say. But with entry fees running into the thousands of yen, this can get expensive. What if Tokyo's clubs got together and issued a pass that would allow entry to all for a flat fee?

With this concept in mind, party promoters Brand New Made have organized an extended weekend of clubbing with a huge outdoor party at its center under the name Tokyo Dance Music Festival 2004. Running from Thursday through the Monday holiday, clubbers can choose from a more expensive free pass to 28 of Tokyo's major clubs including Yellow and Milk, etc., or a ¥1,000 discount pass to all participating clubs.

TDF (for some reason they dropped the M) gets into high gear on Friday with a party celebrating Brand New Made's 11th anniversary. The special edition of BNM's long-running Iro events will feature a live performance by one of house music's sweeter divas.

Barbara Mendes first came to attention in 2002 thanks to a song she did with New York house music icon Franois K called "Awakening." 2003's follow up, "Got to Be in Love," was one of the big dance hits of the year, establishing Mendes as one of clubland's favorite house divas.

TDF climaxes on Monday with a massive outdoor rave at the futuristic Odaiba area built on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. The nicely priced event looks to draw 10,000 clubbers with five stages pumping out sounds from trance and techno to house, lounge and chill out.

Topping the bill is the aforementioned Franois K, who will be headlining the main stage. One of a few names in dance music to deserve the term "living legend," Franois K played the Paradise Garage and Studio 54 in their heydays. He was also one of the forces behind New York's Body and Soul events, which reinvented house parties in the latter part of the '90s.

Franois K has also been a familiar face in Tokyo in recent years, whether headlining his own parties at Yellow, or DJing as part of the Body and Soul Tokyo events staged annually in recent years by Brand New Made.

Also on the packed bill is Australian psy-trance DJ Andrew Till, one of Down Under's most influential dance music figures through his Psy-Harmonics imprint, and a posse of domestic forces including techno DJs Fumiya Tanaka and Mayuri, trance spinners Tsuyoshi and Ubar Tmar, house stylists Emma and Alex from Tokyo, the indescribable Eye of the Boredoms, and dozens more...

Another unique event this month comes in the form of a month-long residency by Detroit techno figure Jeff Mills. Launched in 2002 at Luners, Mills' residency sees him playing four successive Fridays, this year at Womb.

Typical of Mills' thoughtful approach to his music, each Friday of his Time Sensitive event has its own theme and guest. The kick-off party next week will see the veteran joined by-you guessed it-François K, who will be presenting a rare live techno set.

The second Friday comes with the title "Detroit Techno Revenge" and will see Mills exploring the way Detroit techno is "the common thread in the fabric of today's dance music." A Japan debut performance is slated from guests Octave One with vocalist Ann Saunderson.

The third Friday will see Mills presenting a "Special James Brown Set" that will look back to a time "when funk wasn't just a bad smell, but rather a four letter sign calling on you to 'get down.'"

The fourth and final Friday sees Mills reprising his face-off of previous years with Japanese Detroit techno contender Ken Ishii in an event entitled "The Experience" that will present "Electronic Dance Music in its purest form."

Tokyo Dance Music Festival 2004, Oct 7-11. http://tokyodancemusicfestival.jp.
Jeff Mills@Womb, Oct 8-29. Tel: 03-5773-0440. www.womb.co.jp

credit: Courtesy of Brand New Made