| 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
by Dan Grunebaum
Armand Van Helden
Greasy slabs of rock for the dancefloor grace the NYC survivors
Ever since white folk turned on to dance music, rock has
been finding its way into electronica. Psychedelic trance
artists Juno Reactor busted out their Les Pauls over a decade
ago, and everyone knows the most successful of the lot: artists
like the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim, who transformed
the blend into a chart-topping formula.
Until the advent of electroclash, it seemed like the mingling
of distorted guitars and beats was a UK phenom, but in fact
one New York-based DJ/producer was mashing up genres long
before it became the norm.
Raiding used record bins for obscure rarities and classic
rock favorites, Armand Van Helden was sampling distorted guitars
into the mix at a time in the early 90s when the hot
n heavy diva-fronted hard house of Junior Vasquez
was the name of the game.
It didnt take too long for clubland to catch up, though,
and by the time of 1994s Witchdoktor EP, Van Helden
was devastating the dance floor of New Yorks now-legendary
Sound Factory. With a 1996 remix of Tory Amoss Professional
Widow and the 1999 track You Dont Know Me
both reaching number one in the British charts, he was also
soon a certified international superstar.
But Van Heldens newfound status didnt mean that,
like many producers do on the back of hits, he gave himself
over to the international DJ circuit. DJing is about
a third of what I do, he said in a recent telephone
interview from New York. Its not a priority; producing
and remixing is mainly what I do. Im thinking of bigger
things than being in a club at six in the morningIm
not wired that way.
Which is perhaps why its taken so long for Japan to
get a good taste of Van Heldens stuff. His first set
behind the decks here wasnt until last years Fuji
Rock, and his upcoming visit marks his first proper tour of
Japans clubs. This is not to say that Van Helden doesnt
enjoy a good spin every now and then. Ive been
a DJ since I was 13, he says. I love it, but Ive
had my run with it. You see some DJs in their 40s that are
still well-known, but it takes something special. Being an
international DJ takes a certain kind of individualyou
have to be very hungry.
The natural affinities between Fatboy Slim and Van Helden
brought them together a few years ago, and since last years
mix CD New York: A Mix Odyssey, Van Helden has been signed
to Slims Southern Fried Records. The two have also teamed
up for a number of dates together.
While their approaches are similar in many respects, Slim
is witty and sly while Van Helden is in your faceall
brazen house clichés strung together with reckless
abandon. His new disc and first artist album in five years,
Nympho, doesnt pull any punches. From the get-go of
the title track, the album seeks to propel booties out of
seats with gut-shaking beats and razor-sharp guitars. Cheerleading
the dance squad is rabble-rouser Van Helden himselfunder
the guise of his vocalist alter ego Virgin Killerand
an assortment of house vixens.
The album also saw Van Helden sharpening his own guitar licks
for the first time. I never really played guitar or
bassnot real onesbut theres a first time
for everything. Im not a pro; I dont practicejust
record a riff, see if theres something I like,
he says. Ill sample anything, but when I started
with the album, I figured it was pretty basic and I could
just play this shit.
Van Helden headlines Ageha alongside Italian R U Shakedelic
DJ Santos and a slew of domestic DJs, including abstract hip-hop/electro
stalwart Kensei and Okinawan techno duo Ryukyu Disko.
Armand Van Helden World Tour 2005@Ageha,
Sept 30. See club listings for details.
Would you like to comment on this article? Send a letter
to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.