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776: Diplo
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768: Naohiro Ukawa
767: Minus Contakt
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737: UK-Adapta
736: Hattler vs Seidel
735: K-Sounds
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733: Cocoon Morphs Tokyo
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725: High Contrast
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721: Fine: Frogman Cold Sleep Party
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705: Air 6th Anniversary
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505: 10 Kilo All Stars
504: Juju
503: DJ Heather
502: Timo Maas
501: Neptunes
500: Halloween hi-jinks


by Don Crispy

Air Bureau

A Swedish duo have more to offer than disposable pop and minimal techno

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 well.

The result was Air Bureau, formed by the pair of Niklas Ehrlin and Henrik Larsson, who debut in Japan next weekend at Orbient in Aoyama.

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," he explains.

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 details.

credit: Massive Management

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