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
Akufen & Mike Shannon
A Canadian promoter puts the emphasis on two DJ/producers
from his home country
Japan is already familiar with
top-tier Canadian DJs like Richie Hawtin, but there are many
others beside the minimal-techno legend representing the diverse
scenes of Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and other cities. Thanks
to the efforts of a number of Canadian DJs and promoters now
based in Tokyo, weve had the chance recently to assess
what theyre up to in genres ranging from house and techno
to drumnbass and beyond.
Among them is Josh Child, whose carefully selected Real Grooves
techno parties have established themselves as some of the
more consistently worthwhile events at venerable Nishi-Azabu
dance pit Yellow. For the next installment of his party, hes
booked two Canadian DJ/producers whove gradually built
rich discographies over the past decade.
Hailing from Montreal, Akufen (b. Marc Leclair) brings influences
from Frank Sinatra to The Beatles to Kraftwerk into a mix
ranging from experimental techno to micro-house. With DJs
beginning their careers in their teens these days, Akufen
came to house music rather late, but he hasnt wasted
any time establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with.
The music that put Akufen on the worldwide map came in the
form of his 2002 album My Way (would Sinatra approve?) for
Force Inc. For that disc, Akufen spent hours each morning
sampling voices, songs and all manner of unidentifiable sounds
off the radio, which he later spliced into snippets and wedded
to house beats in a technique he calls microsampling.
I recorded My Way in a cabin in the nether regions of
Quebec in the dead of winter, he says in his bio. I
was so much into it when I was doing itthe situation,
the location, the isolationthat it wasnt ever
going to be as obvious an album as if Id done it in
Akufen, it turns out, has also issued material on Revolver,
a Toronto label run by the second headlining DJ on the Real
Grooves bill, Mike Shannon.
Also based in Montreal in recent years, Shannon grew up in
Kitchener, Ontario, and began DJing at age 12 when his dad
bought him his first mixer. Shannons interest in techno
was spurred by occasional trips to nearby Detroit, where he
would check out the burgeoning electronic music scene.
Shannons first serious foray into dance music came through
his Pulse Productions events, which began as sporadic multimedia
events and gradually morphed into the weekly Punktion parties.
In 1999, Shannon became resident at the infamous Industry
nightclub in Toronto, later relocating to Montreal to launch
Cynosure Recordings, which gained acclaim for cutting-edge
recordings in glitch-house, fostered by Montreals Mutek
festival, and dark, dancefloor techno.
These were also two of the flavors that would permeate his
full-length debut (also for Force Inc.), Slight of Hand, which
was typical of Montreals dance music scene in its inventiveness
and difficulty to categorize.
As a foreign promoter in Japan, Child says the biggest challenge
is developing a trust with an audience that doesnt
know who you are in a city that has so much to choose from.
He says hes looking forward to supporting more Tokyo-based
artists in the future. The Japanese dance music scene
is doing well now, and there are a lot of upcoming local artists
who are going to be a pleasant surprise.
Real Grooves@Yellow, Aug 20. See
club listings for details.
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