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Underworld's Electraglide 2005 performance to be released on limited-edition CD

I was planning to mention this earlier - much earlier, as I've actually had tickets for a month and a bit now - but I'm going to Electraglide this Friday. Electraglide is a dance music mini-festival held every November at a large convention center in eastern Tokyo (Chiba, actually, but who's counting?). In recent years, there's been a second leg added the next night in Osaka, with most of the same acts.

This year's lineup is one of the best yet:

  • Underworld
  • Autechre
  • Carl Cox
  • Coldcut
  • Towa Tei
  • Vitalic
  • Ken Ishii
  • Chris Cunningham
... and those are just the ones I can remember off-hand.

Underworld have played the event a couple of times; I was fortunate enough to make it to the first Electraglide, back in 2000, which they also headlined. The 2000 lineup is widely regarded as the best ever (Underworld, Orbital, Richie Hawtin, Two Lone Swordsmen), but I think this might just top it - I'm very excited about Carl Cox, in particular, as it was one of his sets at Cream in Liverpool, once upon a time, that really got me turned on to proper clubbing in the first place. I've seen him since, most recently at Yellow in Nishi Azabu a couple of years ago, but this is going to be different - 20,000 screaming punters different.

I also saw Underworld at Electraglide 2003 (not to mention the Liquid Room in 2000), but couldn't get right down into the throng as a friend I was with had a broken ankle and didn't fancy mixing it with 15,000 sweaty, rowdy, Shimo-kitazawa boys. Nor could I particularly blame him.

The only pisser about Electraglide each year is access to Makuhari Messe... it's a real arse to get to. Half an hour by express train from Toyko Station - which is fine in the grand scheme of things, but when your girlfriend is finishing work half an hour in the opposite direction from Shinjuku (i.e. as diametrically on the opposite side of Tokyo from Chiba as one can get) at 9pm, which is when the first act starts... well, it leaves you wishing it were a wee bit more central.

And then, when you're standing, exhausted, on Kaihin Makuhari station platform at 6am the following (late November) morning, freezing your bits off waiting for the next train back to Tokyo with 20,000 other revellers, knowing it will take you at least an hour and a half to reach your own bed, you stop merely wishing it were a wee bit more central and start questioning your own sanity.

So I think we'll be getting a hire car this time.

But anyway, the big Electraglide-related news is that Underworld will:
a) be doing a mammoth 3-hour live set,
b) recording it, and
c) selling it as a limited-edition 3CD set, exclusively to Electraglide 2005 attendees.

Details are on the Electraglide site, hidden in a pop-up, which I have hacked open for your convenience here. Bascially you need to download a form and take it with you to the event, hand it over with ¥3,000 and they deliver the CDs to you a couple of weeks later. Yoosh!

So, yes, massively looking forward to it, should be an awesome night. And if, by any chance, Karl Hyde should be reading this, I'd just like to say ありがとう for all the great tunes and club nights. And I'm sorry if I scowled at you (at least I think it was you) across the crowded bar when you played the Liquid Room in April 2000. It's just my default look - I was actually very very happy.

Further reading: Recent Metropolis interview with Karl Hyde (not a permalink, may expire)
Underworld live
Electraglide 2005

Posted by chris at 12:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

What's in a name?

Was clearing out spam from an old e-mail account earlier today and found the following delicious morsel - not the spam e-mail itself, you understand, but the obviously randomly-generated sender's name:

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 1:39 AM
To: Chris
Subject: Cheap software
From: Hildebrand F. Shenanigan
Now *that* is truly awesome. I know what I'm putting the next time I sign in to a hotel.

Posted by chris at 12:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Maniac Love, Aoyama, to close in December

No! Please no! I just dropped by the Maniac Love homepage only to find that they're closing in a couple of weeks' time. Say it ain't so!

Maniac Love is one of the oldest and best loved clubs in Tokyo. It's tiny, but has consistently been one of the best places in town for a night of full-on techno. Opened in 1993, it occupies the basement of an unassuming building tucked down a semi-residential sidestreet off Kotto-dori in Aoyama, and has always had a problem with noisy revellers coming and going. It's the only club I've ever been to where they have door staff prowling the surrounding streets, intercepting approaching clubbers and asking them to keep it down on their way in. Plus a NASA-grade airlock policy on the (heavily soundproofed) front doors. I don't know if noise considerations were a factor in the decision to close, maybe affecting their licensing, but will see what I can dig up.

The place is also justifiably famous for its after-hours parties, which continue through until late morning. The entry price is reduced after 5am, and there was always a bottomless pot of free coffee on the bar. Ah, the memories. I haven't been for a while, but I'm going to bust a gut to get to one of the last nights. If you've never been, then this appears to be your last chance to catch a Tokyo institution. See you on the floor, you Maniac Lovers.

Maniac Love, Aoyama - final schedule

  • Monday Nov. 28th - Thursday Dec. 1st, free entry each night, 7pm -12am.
  • Friday Dec. 2nd, from 9pm, ¥3,500 / ¥2,000 after 5am
  • Saturday Dec. 3rd, from 9pm, ¥4,000 / ¥2,000 after 5am

Posted by chris at 09:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wipeout Pure Classic Pack 3 available for download (Japan)

Three down, one to go - the penultimate Classic expansion pack for Wipeout Pure is now available for downloading via the in-game online menu. The latest pack contains a reworking of the Porto Kora circuit from Wipeout 3, a Van Uber menu skin, and two classic Cold Fusion tunes from the original Wipeout, Messij and Operatique. Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1995.

Oh - and the Japanese release date for Classic Pack 4 has been announced as December 9th (from 3pm, Japan time).

Progress report: 220 golds, "only" 69 left to go. I'm still just a Purist - the game ran out of rankings at 144. I expected to be a Legend or something by now. Ho hum. Actually I've kind of slacked off the Wipeout recently, as I've been drawn further into the world of Grand Theft Auto (Liberty City Stories, the PSP title), seduced by the money, the guns, the violence, and the inane radio station chatter. Seriously, you try listening to the adverts for Pilgrim's Pantry without laughing - it can't be done.

Posted by chris at 09:52 AM | Permalink

Warmed wabs wage war on worldwide warming

Been busy with work recently (not to mention Grand Theft Auto on the PSP), hence the lack of postings, but I just had to pop in to let you know that those teams of Japanese scientists that have been working around the clock to come up with ways to beat global warming have made a significant breakthrough: heated bras.

You've probably heard of "Cool Biz", the Japanese government's drive to save electricity over the summer by encouraging salarymen to ditch their ties and go easy on the aircon. Well, the corollary to that is - bear with me here - the ingeniously titled "Warm Biz", whereby office workers all over the country are encouraged to wear warmer clothes and go easy on the heating.

It's all well and good, of course, and I personally have been keeping my Biz Warm recently by wearing sweaters (well, hoodies, mainly) around the office. But heated bras? Really? Why do the girls get heated bras, but we guys don't get heated neckties? And why not just encourage people to wear scarves? Or hats? Or gloves - my touch-typing could hardly get any worse, after all.

And surely a scarf is more environmentally friendly than a bra containing HEATING ELEMENTS THAT NEED TO BE REMOVED AND STUCK IN A ****ING MICROWAVE OVEN WHICH RUNS ON... PERHAPS... ELECTRICITY? That is, if the point of this whole deal is indeed to save electricity, and not just, say, sell more bras.

*Sigh.* Calm now.

Posted by chris at 11:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Photo gallery up at Flickr (despite tag woes)

Just a quick post to announce that I've got my Flickr account up and running at last:

Flickr's awesome, obviously, and like everyone else who's using it I'm extremely impressed with it all, blah blah blah... but I must say I'm extremely pissed off with their tagging system. It works okay in general but seems to have huge problems coping with two-word tags. It tells you to "use quotes" for multiple-word tags ("roppongi hills"), but then seems to arbitrarily concatenate the words anyway (roppongihills). It also seems to ignore underscores, so that roppongi_hills also becomes roppongihills.

I wouldn't mind so much if you were then able to search for roppongi hills, but this is patchy at best. I just spent 15 minutes tagging photos "for badge", only to have Flickr tell me that there were no photos thus tagged. My tag cloud told me that I had forbadge instead, so I clicked on that... only to be told that there were no photos tagged forbadge. For f**k's sake.

So I tried renaming them all to forbadge (no spaces), only for that tag to disappear completely from my tag cloud too. Then I tried tagging them all fbadge, at which point suddenly forbadge reappeared in the tag cloud. But no effing fbadge.

Time for me to give up and go to bed, and for you to enjoy the photos, tagged or not.

Posted by chris at 01:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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