by Don Crispy
A Swedish duo have more to offer than disposable pop and
For the past few years, the trio Headroom have been circling
the globe, proselytizing their brand of hard, banging techno.
But in 2001, two of the members decided to launch another
project, focusing on more accessible, funky sounds that would
be suitable not only for sweaty basements but for radio as
The result was Air Bureau, formed by the pair of Niklas Ehrlin
and Henrik Larsson, who debut in Japan next weekend at Orbient
First signed to Swedish house label Vsual, the duo quickly
struck a vein with their prog-house hit "Don't
Expect Me (To Forget You)," released under the name
Aircrash Bureau. When the buzz generated by the single made
its way to the offices of Universal Music Group's Stockholm
Records, the pair were signed to a deal that generated all
sorts of press and key slots at Sweden's top clubs.
Shortening their name to simply Air Bureau, the pair released
their first full-length earlier this year with Forever Love,
blending their love of classic pop with funky house beats
and featuring artists including Ola Salo from the Ark and
Timbuktu. The duo are also known for a dynamic live set, employing
the Final Scratch system that allows them to choose from their
own material as well as house classics. They also generally
travel with a singer, and a battery of synthesizers and effects
to spice up their gigs...
Meanwhile, Module, which was reborn from the ashes of Shibuya's
legendary Cave, is already celebrating its third anniversary
this month with a slew of high-profile DJs. Among them is
Germany's Thomas Schumacher, a DJ/producer with a strong
connection to Japan.
Steeped in the early synth-pop sounds of bands like Depeche
Mode while growing up in the '80s, Schumacher was soon
DJing at clubs in his native Bremen. Before long he was also
spinning the powerful bass lines of Frankfurt techno at legendary
clubs like Dorian Gray.
In 1990, Schumacher secured his first residency at Bremen's
Crash, playing live sets of material he'd begun to
produce in his home studio. "From rave to breakbeats
and acid to gabba, we played just about everything we liked
without worrying about 'inappropriate' style
mixtures. A very exciting time," he says. In the early
'90s, Schumacher was part of the NIP collective, pushing
the limits of beats-per-minute in their post-trance productions,
but in '95 he left the group to sign with Bush.
It was with Bush that he achieved his international breakthrough.
The single "Ficken" (Fuck), with a pornographic
sample, sold more than 15,000 worldwide, getting Schumacher
gigs the world over and finding his productions being played
in sets by the likes of DJs such as Carl Cox.
In 1998, Schumacher formed his own imprint, Spiel-Zeug Schallplatten,
issuing his first full-length, Electric Ballroom. The album
brought him to the attention of Japan's ele-pop duo
Denki Groove, who asked him to remix one of their tracks.
Schumacher made his first visit here that year, following
it up in '99 with a three-city tour.
"I loved Japan, its people and club culture (not to
mention the delicious food) and the tour enabled me to make
a lot of new contacts-one of which was with Japan's
Sony, who released a Best Of album titled Save As Thomas,"
Needing a respite from his crazy schedule, Schumacher in the
beginning of 2000 sought refuge in Japan. "I began
the new millennium with a three-month timeout. I packed my
things and disappeared to Tokyo, where I found the peace and
quiet to regenerate."
Later that year, he performed on the main stage at Denki Groove's
Wire event, Japan's largest indoor rave, cementing
his credibility with Japanese clubbers.
Air Bureau@Orbient, November 20.
Thomas Schumacher@Module, November 19. See club listings for
credit: Massive Management
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