Selected by Don Crispy

Smith & Mighty

Smith & Mighty
Courtesy of A-Beat

For the second installment of its Dread Beat series, influential reggae/latin promoter A-Beat will introduce Tokyo audiences to the sounds of contemporary British dub and trip hop when the soundsystem/production team of Smith & Mighty perform at Shibuya On Air East this Friday.

The story of Smith & Mighty (Rob Smith and Ray Mighty) begins in the English city of Bristol, the birthplace of ' trip hop, which has given the world Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead. Developing a unique fusion of dub, soul and hip hop on the streets of Bristol in the late '80s along with other soundsystems such as the Wild Bunch, Smith & Mighty began to make a name for themselves with production credits such as Massive Attack's debut single "Any Love."

Fed up after a series of bungled record deals hampered their ability to reach larger audiences, Smith & Mighty in 1995 formed their own label, More Rockers, with new member Peter D Rose. A flood of tracks followed, culminating in the 1999 release of the album Big World, Small World, lauded by Billboard magazine as "the missing link between Bob Marley, Soul II Soul and Lauryn Hill." The album features the inspired singing of fellow Bristol native Tammy Payne, who will also be in Tokyo as featured vocalist with other members of the More Rockers label stable.

Providing local support for Smith & Mighty will be Tokyo-based instrumental dub unit Dub Squad, and the ubiquitous didgeridoo, drum and effects player Goro.

MC Flipside and Freaky Flow
MC Flipside and Freaky Flow

Readers who pick up TC early should also consider heading over to VRAS in Shibuya where Soul City Industries will be hosting highly-regarded Canadian drum'n'bass DJs Freaky Flow and MC Flipside on May 6. Soul City Industries, a recent entrant to Tokyo's drum'n'bass and abstract dance music scene, has been gathering pace with its Sci-Fi parties of late, as well as with its weekly Tuesday-night Switch party at Bullets in Nishi Azabu. The upcoming installment of Sci-Fi looks to provide an upbeat conclusion to what has been a stellar Golden Week for Tokyo dance culture.

Smith & Mighty: Shibuya On Air East, 5/12, midnight, JY3800 (adv). Tickets and information: A-Beat 03-5828-5101.

Sci-Fi: VRAS, 5/6, 10pm, JY3000 w/1d, JY2500 w/flier. Tel: 03-3770-5457.

Ralph Lawson
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