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
by Don Crispy
A rave returns, this time looking beyond dance music
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
In addition to Solstice, another dance festival rejuvenated
this year is Utage, which launched in 2000 and is back after
last years 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 drumnbass.
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,
whos 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 2001s 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
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 UKs Midlands, where
the likes of Danny Tenaglia have held court.
The drumnbass 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 Wombs
scene-leading 06S drumnbass parties, and DJ/producer
Makoto, who represents English drumnbass innovator
LTJ Bukems 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 Englands 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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