by Don Crispy
Outdoor festivals provide a way around strict nightlife
laws, says founder Mayuri
|Galaxy 2 Galaxy
Courtesy of Metamorphose
Good weather and the chance to cut loose under the stars
arent the only reason Japans dance scene moves
outdoors in the summer. You dont need IDs to get
into outdoor festivals, so its more happening in the
summer, says veteran DJ and promoter Mayuri.
Japans infamous fueiho public morals laws require clubbers
to be above 20 and for dance venues to close their doors at
1am. Strict ID checks in recent years and enforcement of the
curfew through raids on clubs like Maniac Love have had the
effect of putting teenagers off clubbing. Teenagers
cannot come to clubs, which is a big loss for the scene. These
are the people who have a lot of passion and are open to music,
They have the time to indulge in music and practice
DJing. If people pass this stage and start to listen to dance
music from their 20s, its a little late to decide to
become a DJ. There are new DJs, producers and parties, but
there could be a lot more if the fueiho didnt exist.
The clubs loss has been outdoor parties gain,
if sheer numbers of events and customers is the measure. Mayuris
Metamorphose, for instance, drew some 20,000 to Naeba ski
resort last year. For this years event, Mayuri decided
to relocate from Naeba, the venue where the Fuji Rock Festival
is held, to a new location in Shizuoka prefecture.
We moved basically because Naeba is far, especially
from Kansai, she says. The Cycle Sports Center
is better than Naeba in many ways: its closer to Tokyo,
Nagoya and Osaka, where most of our audience comes from; its
an amusement park; it has an onsen on the site, its
not in the mountains, so the weather is more stable; and you
can see Mt. Fuji.
As has been the case since Metamorphose was launched, the
bill is a wide-ranging one that takes in electronic music
forms from Detroit techno to experimental post-rock, and from
hip-hop to drumnbass. About the only kind of dance
music you wont find on the bill is trance, which forms
a distinct subculture in itself.
Among the most anticipated sets will be one by Galaxy 2 Galaxy,
a collective of Detroit techno veterans whose performance
moved many during a tour of artists on the Motor Citys
Submerge label last February. Galaxy 2 Galaxy came into being
with the Nation 2 Nation disc in 1990, and set the template
for Hi-tech Jazz on a song of the same name from
its historic Galaxy 2 Galaxy album in 1993.
But it wasnt until fellow Detroit warrior Jeff Mills
Time Sensitive tour in Tokyo in 2001 found a receptive audience
that Galaxy 2 Galaxy came into being as a touring entity.
The band is anchored by Jeff Banks, a longtime member of Mills
Underground Resistance collective of Detroit artists.
Says Galaxy 2 Galaxys website: Knowing that Jeff
[Mills] would create the correct atmosphere, Banks decided
to do a small 4 man band which fitted with Jeffs concept,
as well as representing a cross section of time with varying
UR band members ranging from old, battle-hardened veterans
to new and up and coming artists.
The fact that Galaxy 2 Galaxy was only able to support a live
tour thanks to Japan testifies to the countrys continued
love affair with electronic music. Count on the faithful to
make the upcoming Metamorphose, along with electronica shows
Utage, Solstice Music Festival, Splash Down and Vision Quest,
some of the biggest music events of the summer in any genre.
Nihon Cycle Sports Center, Aug 27-28.
See concert listings for details.
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