| 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 Don crispy
King Street Sounds 12th Anniversary
The Japanese head of New Yorks longest-running independent
dance label reflects on more than a decade of house music
Morales is one of the DJs headlining at Ageha
courtesy of King Street Sounds
Go to a house party in New York City and youre sure
to see a few Japanese faces. Japanese have been dedicated
followers of the genre since its inception in the 80s,
and as partygoers the world over know, Japan has one of the
worlds best house music scenes bar none.
Cementing the links between New York and Tokyo have been a
number of Japanese producers, like Towa Tei and Satoshi Tomiie,
who went to New York and brought their own flair to house
music. But in addition to creative types, there have also
been business entrepreneurs such as Hisa Ishioka, whose King
Street Sounds record label celebrates its 12th anniversary
with a bash at Ageha this weekend.
After moving to New York in 85 and falling under the
spell of house at New Yorks legendary Paradise Garage
nightclub, Ishioka created King Street to continue the
12-year tradition of soulful-spiritual house music to which
the club helped give birth. In addition to a slew of
productions by the gamut of the citys top producers,
King Street has also been a dependable force on Japans
club scene, providing a conduit for New Yorks finest
to cultivate a remarkably faithful following through uncountable
events, in particular at Japans reknowned Yellow.
In an email exchange from New York before the upcoming Ageha
event, Ishioka reflected on the new, subdued, post-superclub
era of house music in the city following the go-go 80s
and 90s. Some people think it ended with the Paradise
Garage closing and others think it died with the Michael Alig/Angel
Melendez murder, he said, but those were simply
different eras being affected by milestone tragedies.
The onslaught of the Giuliani era and the continuation
of his legacy by the Bloomberg administration has made it
more difficult for more big clubs to open, [which leads] to
smaller parties that dont attract the attention of city
officials. Despite that, there has been a recent trend of
clubs from other cities coming to NYC and making waves. Crobar
(from Chicago and Miami), Avalon (from Boston) and now the
opening of Pacha (Ibiza, London) in the fall all came here
with a need to bring their respective venues to NY and make
Ishioka also says Japanese house music is in a period of rejuvenation.
When we started around 13 years ago, there werent
that many great producers around: Only people like Satoshi
Tomiie, Mondo Grosso, UFO, Yukihiro Fukutomi, Towa Tei...Japanese
house music has developed steadily over that time period,
but in particular, the past five years have been especially
noteworthy due to the rise of such talented producers as Malawi
Rocks, GTS, Studio Apartment, Yasushi Ide, FPM...bringing
their own unique and special flavors to dance floors, putting
these guys and their music on par with their predecessors.
In addition to Giuliani-style law and order campaigns, of
which Tokyo has also seen its share, house musiclike
the music industry at largeis under pressure from digital
downloading. Weve had to re-approach the sales
model, realizing that now we need to be in the business of
selling music as opposed to selling records, Ishioka
says. It would be nice to have platinum-selling pop
records with millions of marketing dollars behind them.
However, the reality is, in order to remain true to our underground
roots and a viable resource for house music, were concentrating
more of our efforts into our sales of downloads and MP3s,
direct sales from our website, and licensing deals.
Which isnt to say King Street has given up on retail
products. Its flagship platform in recent years has been the
Mix The Vibe series of compilations by such stellar DJ/producers
as Grammy-winning New Yorker David Morales and Japans
Shinichi Osawa (Mondo Grosso). This weekends Ageha event
will also serve as a release party for the latest in the series,
Mix The Vibe: Sublevel Maneuvers Mixed by Doc Martin, just
out last week.
One of the West Coasts foremost house DJ/producers,
Doc Martin is known for mixing dub and house in the left
coast style sometimes called dub house.
With fresh cuts from a whos who of house producers like
Blaze, Ananda Project and Francois K, Sublevel Maneuvers showcases
Martins subtle segues, in which beats overlap seamlessly
to create an integrated whole.
While King Street releases like the Abstract Afro Journey
and Latin Lounge series explore tangential directions, Martins
new mix/comp, like much of King Streets output, is meant
to reaffirm the 4/4 beats, soulful vocals and instrumentals
that are house music at its core.
Ishioka concludes: As long as there are people wanting
to go out and blow off steam from their daily grind and DJs
in need of music to play, there will always be house music.
House (in all its varied forms) will probably go through another
thousand revisions and re-inventions, but like any other style
of music there will be those who will seek it out. It will
continue. Let there be HOUSE!
Ageha, Oct 7. See club listings for
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