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 LISTINGS
Listings
 AFTER DARK

Debuting in Kotto Dori hideout Chambres D’hotes on December 14 is Domo Arigato, the party with, as its name suggests, an underlying theme of gratitude. And the first bestowee of thanks—served with an eclectic and riotous melee of multi-genre beats, themes and visuals—is Chicago band Anathallo. The indie art-pop act has just launched a new disc, Canopy Glow, and completed a Japan tour. Vocalist Matthew Joynt will take to the wheels of steel along with a mob of Tokyo’s underground beat-meisters. Dub- and reggae-fuelled Kenta and Tokyo-based electro warlord Maxwell will add to the shenanigans, while disco- and electro-tinged Dirk Bite, aka Jaybee of Loudminorityradio notoriety, ices what should be quite the delectable cake.

Domo Arigato@Chambres D’hotes, Dec 14. JC

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576: Kevin Yost
575: Miss Kittin

574: Le Petit Orb
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ISSUES 500+
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ISSUES 349-

by Don Crispy

Utage

A rave returns, this time looking beyond dance music

DJ Aki

With pop music events like the Fuji Rock Festival selling out and outdoor electronica parties such as the Solstice Music Festival returning after a break, this year is proving the durability of the summer music festival boom that got underway in Japan about a decade ago. The youth demographic may be dwindling, but it seems it prefers to spend its savings on outdoor music.

In addition to Solstice, another dance festival rejuvenated this year is Utage, which launched in 2000 and is back after last year’s layoff at a ski resort in Niigata near Naeba, where Fuji Rock is held.

Utage is unique in its lineup, with two stages devoted to different types of dance music and another to the neo-hippy grooves of jam bands.

Organizer Fractal & Planet AKA, known for its events at clubs like Ageha and Womb, is organizing the Future of Electro stage, devoted to progressive house and drum‘n’bass. The lineup looks serious, with a bevy of overseas talent joined by domestic stalwarts.

Among the foreign guests is veteran UK DJ/producer Lee Coombs, who’s moved many a dance floor since beginning his DJ career at acid house parties in London in the late ’80s. A resident at the legendary Eclipse raves, Coombs began to release tracks in the ’90s under the monikers The Invisible Men and Frog Junkies.

More recently, the DJ was with the Finger Lickin’ label, from which he issued 2001’s acclaimed Future Sound of Retro, matching acid-tech to relentless breakbeats, but Coombs has just reported on his website that he has left Finger Lickin’ to concentrate on his own Thrust imprint and worldwide Thrust nights.

Also on the prog-house side is American DJ/producer Redanka, known for collaborating with Japanese house legend Satoshi Tomiie as Graffik, among other projects. Redanka also runs RIP records, which has issued an acclaimed series of releases, and the Cable Chamber studio in the UK’s Midlands, where the likes of Danny Tenaglia have held court.
The drum‘n’bass side of things, meanwhile, will see sets by UK DJs Fresh, Moving Fusion and Badcompany UK, as well as a bevy of domestic forces. Among the Japanese turntablists will be DJ Aki, the untiring, cornrowed host of Womb’s scene-leading 06S drum‘n’bass parties, and DJ/producer Makoto, who represents English drum‘n’bass innovator LTJ Bukem’s Japanese operations.

Trance has its own stage, Spirit of Fire, with live and DJ acts too numerous to mention. A few to look forward to, however, include a set by England’s James Monro, the head and main DJ/producer of early psychedelic trance label Flying Rhino. Another will be a live set by Tomasz Balicki, aka Atmos, who first issued riveting, hypnotic singles on Flying Rhino and then kick started the Scandinavian trance movement with his debut album, Headcleaner.

The jam band stage, How Sweet, also looks intriguing, with local pacesetters Big Frog and Meltone joined by Canadian trio the New Deal.

Formed in 1999, the group explore the post-Grateful Dead jam band tradition within the context of cutting-edge breakbeats and house dance music rhythms. Jamie Shields, Dan Kurtz and Darren Shearer have played over 400 shows in the past four years, including sets at marquee events like the Bonnaroo and Coachella festivals, and they recently released their second studio outing, Gone Gone Gone, featuring Canadian songstress Feist, who it so happens will be in Japan in September.

Utage@Pine Ridge Resorts Kandatsu, Aug 12-14. See concert listings for details.


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