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AFTER DARK
Selected by Don Crispy


Hotaka Mountain Festival


Xavier Morel
Images courtesy of Techno Flux
Eye from the Boredoms
Kaoru Inoue
Juno Reactor
Audio Active
Soft

After a two-year break from the outdoor party scene, leading psychedelic electronica promoters Equinox return - by popular demand they say - with Hotaka Mountain Festival ~ Music of the Sphere - slated for Gunma Prefecture next weekend.

The event will feature such techno mainstays as Juno Reactor (who blew minds last winter at Akasaka Blitz) and Alex Paterson of The Orb, but is also broadening the slate with live sets by avant-garde noisemeisters the Boredoms, electro-dub unit Audio Active, and a number of acts less familiar to rave-goers in Japan.

Longtime Equinox organizer Kotaro Manabe says, "We got tired of doing the same old thing again and again, and wanted to try something a little different this time and save our Equinox parties for special occasions."

With Juno Reactor (Englishman Ben Watkins and South African percussion group Amanpondo) and the Boredoms (in one of their many incarnations) having appeared at Fuji Rock Festival, and Alex Paterson scheduled for the Summer Sonic-related Sonicmania all-nighter, fans will have plenty of opportunity to check out these artists.

But some of the other acts will be making rare or even debut appearances in Japan. Club D' Elf, for instance, will be making the trip from the US. One of a growing number of jam bands making their way across the Pacific, Club D'Elf-who include a college music professor and a former drummer with Miles Davis-mix dub, trance and free jazz for a sound that comes highly recommended by leading Japanese jam band promoter Phatleaf.

The UK's Greg Hunter, meanwhile, is also an infrequent visitor to Japan. The force behind the superb 1996 ambient dub Subsurfing album, Hunter also engineers The Orb and Juno Reactor when he is not busy working as sound engineer for the likes of Madonna and Paul McCartney.

From Kyoto comes ambient improvisational unit Soft, who have recently been boosting their profile with their 2000 release Bonjour Bounshanfarm and their first national tour.

Another unusual Japanese offering will be Gocoo, a 12-member, all-woman Japanese percussion group who reinvent traditional Japanese taiko for the trance world. Also on hand will be DJ Artman, the latest incarnation of DJ Kudo, an inspiration to many younger DJs with his late '80s sets at the Cave in Shibuya. Kaoru Inoue (aka Chari Chari), and Utsumi Izuru (aka Izzy) are two of Japan's hottest current world music-influenced house DJs, and have both released convincing albums over the past year.

Meanwhile, Shur-I-kan, ebz and Koss, all members of the UK-Japan soundofspeed sound system introduced in these pages last week, will also be on hand.

From the Japanese trance scene, Ubar Tmar, who has just released the album Eigou Kaiki (Panorama/Techno Flux) and psychedelic trance-rock unit Kinocosmo (formed by leading DJs including Ree K and Masa) will be offering hard-hitting live sets.

For the visual element, Italian installation artists and Equinox regular Avikal will blow minds with what must be the most imaginative string sculptures to be seen at any techno party.

Hotaka Mountain Festival@Hotaka Bokujou Campsite (Gunma Prefecture), 8/11-12, JY8000 (adv), JY10,000 (door). Bus tour JY17,000. Info: Odyssey 3796-9999. www.techno.to 

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LISTINGS:
Friday October 26
Saturday October 27
Sunday October 28
Monday October 29
Tuesday October 30
Wednesday October 31
Thursday November 1
Friday November 2
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AFTER DARK ARCHIVES:
396: Ralph Lawson
395: Ed real
394: Swedishnight@code
393: 4 heroes meets 2000 black
392: 
391: 
390: 
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388: 
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385: Sonicmania
384: Hotaka Mountain Festival
383: Shur-I-Kan
382: Richie Hawtin
381: Deep Dish
380: Professor T
379: Roy Davis Jr
378: Flaura & Flynn
377: Vitamin D
376: Dmitri From Paris
375: Derrick May & Kevin Saunderson
374: Deep Banana Blackout
373: Sunpower
372: Rei Harakami
371: Christian Smith
370: DJ Hasebe
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368: Poptones
367: Jamyz Nylon
366: Yoji Biomehanika
365: Big Chill
364: Torture Garden
363: Ism & Izm
362: The Room 8th Anniversary
361: Madame Friction
360: LTJ Bukem
359: Medeski, Martin & Wood
358: Stone, Scissors, Paper
357: Dakini Nights
356: Matthew Herbert
355: Juno Reactor
354: Gilles Peterson
352/3: New Millennium Countdown
351: Captain Funk
350: Francois K.
349: Seven
348: Gratia AIDS Charity Party
347: Epic Wave & Protocol
346: Double A & Twist
345: Electraglide
344: Seb Fontaine
343: Freaky Flow & MC Flipside
342: The Word Is Sex
341: Isotope 217
340: Fabio
339: The Pink Cow
338: Nigel Dawson
337: Thunderpuss
336: Digital Experience #2
335: Wire 00
334: Org
333: Metamorphose
332: Bamboleo
331: Kingyo Club
330: Big House II
329: Alan Thompson Japan Tour
328: Doc Scott
327: Susumu Yokota & Max Brennan
326: Rob Gee
325: Skam
324: Karafuto
323: LTJ Bukem
322: Sven Vath
321: Alton Miller
320: Jazz Electronica
319: Smith & Mighty
318: Goldie
317: Nukleuz Tokyo Tour
316: Tribute To The Love Generation
315: Alex Lauterstein
314: Archive Records Japan Tour 2000
313: Champs
312: Haru 2000 Matsuri
311: David Morales
310: Tsuyoshi
309: Vision Quest
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