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


by Don Crispy


German and Japanese designers and DJs explore the intersection of fashion and dance music; an infamous Shinjuku rock club shutters its doors

Courtesy of Ageha

Later in the month at bayside superclub Ageha, a cast of German and Japanese fashion designers and DJs will be mixing it up in a power-packed night sponsored by Volkswagen, Lufthansa, and the Goethe-Institut Tokyo as part of this year’s Germany in Japan events.

The organizers of Artistage are promising a “special surprise exhibition” from the Paris and Tokyo collections, and they’re making sure a good crowd turns out with a formidable lineup of DJs representing two decades of dance music.

Headlining is DJ Hell, who has been a fixture of the German techno scene since he began mixing electro, house and hip-hop in the mid-’80s. Hell’s DJing gradually morphed into a production career, and he gained widespread notice with the track “My Definition of House Music” in 1992. Hell’s International Deejay Gigolos imprint has also become one of Europe’s trademark techno imprints, releasing discs by the likes of Jeff Mills.

Also associated with International Deejay Gigolos is German DJ/producer Richard Bartz, one of the great manipulators of Roland 808 and 909 sequencers, on which much of the dance revolution was created. Born in Munich, Bartz met Hell after attending the legendary Ultraworld parties in the early ’90s. His most recent album was last year’s Midnight Man.
Although of Greek parentage, Savas Pascalidis also grew up in Germany and began to DJ in Stuttgart in the mid ’80s. Progressing from disco to techno, he issued a number of recordings that eventually saw him hooking up with International Deejay Gigolos in 2000. With the release of the provocative Galactic Gigolo and, most recently, Disko Vietnam, Pascalidis has developed a reputation for a dark vision for 21st-century techno that retains traces of old-school disco.

Filling out the bill are a number of heavyweight domestic turntablists. The omnipresent Shinichi Osawa aka Mondo Grosso has been something of a trendsetter since the early ’90s, when he was one of the premiere Shibuya-kei jazz-funk stylists, also acting as an impresario for emerging acts like singer Bird. In recent years Osawa has also helped to spearhead overseas dance music trends in Japan like UK 2-step and the nu electro movement.

DJ Mayuri is one of Japan’s few high-profile female DJs, and she’s known not only for her precise minimal techno sets, but also for promoting the massive summertime Metamorphose and New Year’s Freedom Village raves.

Heigo Tani, meanwhile, is a veteran resident DJ of legendary Aoyama dance basement Maniac Love and, with DJ Wada, he also makes up one half of the Co-Fusion unit, which has explored the possibilities of purely percussion-oriented dance music as one of the marquee acts on Tokyo’s highly rated Sublime techno label...

Metropolis was saddened to learn that a Shinjuku institution, rock dive Rolling Stone, will be closing in June after 33 years in business. Opened in 1972 by a diehard Stones fan, the grizzled but revered Toshi, Rolling Stone has long been a lynchpin of the Shinjuku Sanchome nightlife scene and an unpretentious alternative to the big attitudes of clubs in Roppongi and Aoyama. Entered through a dangerously steep staircase leading to a poorly lit, low-ceilinged space, Rolling Stone is also perhaps the last authentic rock club in Tokyo, and its passing leaves one wondering where to go to hear rock music turned up to, as was said in the film Spinal Tap, “eleven.”

The next month will see veteran DJs from years past like DJ Jan returning to lay down sets of vintage rock sounds from the ’60s to the ’00s, with the closing blowout slated for June 16. Check out
www.rockin-rollingstone.com for details.

Artistage@Ageha, May 27. See club listings for details.

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