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Things I Have Been Doing Since We Last Met #1 - DJing

The last two days have seen a slight slacking off in the otherwise frantic pace of development here at Tokyo Tales; yesterday was spent fine-tuning (i.e. obsessing over) the tracklisting for this coming Friday's extravaganza - yours truly trying his hand at DJing. No, don't laugh. Ok, well, maybe just a little guffaw.

A friend of a friend runs a night every month or so at a small club in Shibuya. The club is called, appropriately enough given my lack of skills behind the decks, NoStyle, and is nestled in the hilly backstreets behind the Mark City complex. The organiser is quite happy to let even first-timer muppets like myself loose in the DJ booth, hence my involvement.

This week will be my third go, and I think I'm slowly getting the hang of it. The first time I did it was a few months ago, in May, so I'm still quite a novice. They're only short sets, 30 minutes, and I'm doing the whole thing from CD, so I'm well aware that it won't count as "real" DJing to any vinyl purists out there, and I'm sure I sucked more ass than a donkey-licking convention in Tijuana, but the first one in particular was great fun nonetheless. And seeing as I have approximately 300 CDs and exactly 0 LPs with me here in Japan, digital was really my only option - short of going on a sudden spending spree through the aisles of Disc Union, of course.

Anyway, stay tuned for future announcements. Playlist for May's debut is over the fold, if you're interested (and get yourself a copy of that Love Will Freak Us by Dsico, which is clearly the best mash-up in the world ever, while you're at it).

アセカカ☆ナイト(Asekaka Star Night) @ Club NoStyle, May 4th 2005:

  • The Avengers theme - John Barry
  • Wonderful Night - FatBoy Slim
  • Mass Destruction - Faithless
  • Ninja Tune - Hexstatic
  • Mirror in the Bathroom / Square Off - The Beat / Mask (Now, Listen! Ninja Tune)
  • A Number of Microphones - Propellerheads
  • Eple - Royksopp
  • The Beat Goes On - Talvin Singh
  • Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes
  • Fogma - Groove Armada
  • The Big Jump - Chemical Brothers
  • Normal (Helston Flora Remix) - Baby Ford (26 Mixes For Cash, Aphex Twin)
  • Love Will Freak Us - Dsico

Posted by chris at 06:48 PM | Permalink

Fuji Rock Festival 2002

Fuji Rock Festival 2002 - the first sniffs of a line-up are wafting in and the odor is promising... last year (Orbital, Coldcut, New Order, Manic Street Preachers, Tricky, Two Lone Swordsmen, Ritchie Hawtin and the rest) was a toughie to beat, though.

Posted by chris at 01:00 PM | Permalink

Fingernails that shine like justice

Still making my way through Saturday's purchases - Tower Records had a sale on, and I went a bit crazy - some new stuff, some patching of MP3- and tape-shaped holes in my collection. Napster's all well and good, but you can't physically lick an MP3 like you can a CD. Ahem.

Technically I already owned The Green Album, but this copy seemed to have a different track listing from my existing copy - it turns out all this time I'd been listening to the US version. D' and, indeed, oh - problem now solved.

Posted by chris at 12:57 AM | Permalink

Momus at Tower Records

Wow. I almost hate to drop so much prime reading material on you in one go, but I feel I must direct you to check out the Momus website. I'd never heard of him until last night, but he's a musician with an insatiable appetite for all thing Japanese, and his essays on aspects of pop-culture and Tokyo urbanism are most definitely worth a read, if you're into that sort of thing. Which I am.

It turns out that he's playing in Shinjuku tomorrow night, so I think I'll dash across after work and try and catch the show. It's just a half-hour-or-so set at Tower Records, but Bethany's story and his biography have intrigued me something rotten. I'll make sure I have something suitably angsty ready as raw material if he's offering to write songs for people on the spot. Possibly this will depend on whether or not he has any more legal costs that need defraying.

Posted by chris at 10:52 PM | Permalink

Superb Gerling video

Oh, and I can't vouch for the song itself, but the video for Gerling's single "The Deer in You" is superb. Two rednecks hunt the Gerling members, made up as deers, wearing yellow backpacks and bounding through a forest in their super-bouncy trainers. Gerling trap the hunters between a cluster of trees with synths built into the trunks, where they force the rednecks to dance as they play the bark bontempis before disappearing underground to quaff green cocktails with mask-wearing leprechauns.

It was showing in Tower this afternoon, although without the sound turned up; I only realised it was Gerling when they showed a mini-interview after the video and the name came up in katakana. Gerling were the ones who sounded like two different bands when I saw them at Fuji this year - dull guitar rock on the one hand, but nice house beats on the other.... oh, that's right... you won't have any clue what I'm talking about because I haven't finished writing up the Fuji weekend yet... jeez. Bad Chris. I'll do it soon, I promise. Honest.

Posted by chris at 08:18 PM | Permalink

Fuji Rock Festival '01 webcast

Excellent news for those of you who missed the Fuji Rock Festival last month: practically the whole thing is going to be re-broadcast over the net, starting August 16th. Have a look at for the schedule, and plan your listening accordingly. I assume that all times quoted are Japan Standard Time, which is GMT+9 (London+8, New York+13).

Don't forget your hat and your sunscreen, remember to drink plenty of fluids and I'll see you at the Orbital and Coldcut gigs - again.

Posted by chris at 07:53 PM | Permalink

...and I'm back.

...and I'm back.

I'm showered, clad in fresh clothes, dust-free, madly sunburnt and hugely chuffed. It's been a weekend of bands, DJs, beats, dancing, flailing, beaming, dust, PET bottles, cowgirls & indians, frozen margheritas, glitterballs and ski lifts.

Now all I have to do is write it all down... and quickly.

Posted by chris at 06:30 PM | Permalink

46 minutes until I bolt

46 minutes until I bolt out of the door, dash across town, stuff clothes and my tent into a rucksack, slog back across to Tokyo station and board a shinkansen for Naeba - it's time to (Fuji) rock.

I'm back on Monday afternoon. In the meantime any e-mail, urgent or spurious, should go to chris dot jennings at docomo dot ne dot jp (as long as it's not too long and there are no attachments, as I'll be reading it on a 1.5 inch cellphone screen - ta muchly).

Be nice and you'll get a mini festival report - but it'll probably be ENTIRELY IN CAPITALS BECAUSE MY PHONE IS RATHER AWKWARD TO TYPE ON OTHERWISE - ahem. Apologies in advance.

42 minutes and counting...

Posted by chris at 05:18 PM | Permalink

FRF '01 getting nearer

Getting excited about the Fuji Rock Festival now, actually - it's only just occurred to me that it's next weekend. Eeek. Last year was a blast; we skipped the Friday and just stayed for Saturday and Sunday, meaning we missed the torrential rain (yay) - and the Chemical Brothers (boo). I'm going for all three days this time, so let's hope we're that lucky with the weather again this year.

The line-up is looking good, very very good indeed. Orbital have been added since I checked last; that's obviously what the cryptic reference to a "well famous" British dance act was all about, then. I'll have to sit down with a print copy of the schedule, a highlighter and my pda at some point, to work out how it's all going to fit together.

I'm quite ambivalent about seeing Oasis; I think they're tossers, basically, but some of the stuff from either of their first two albums would go down well. Ditto Eminem; everything I've read in the media points towards his being an unprincipled racist homophobic imbecile, and I've only heard one of his tracks, I think, but I might as well have a quick peek to see if I can make up my own mind.

Acts I am excited about seeing, however:

  • Asian Dub Foundation
  • Coldcut
  • Fumiya Tanaka
  • New Order
  • Orbital
  • Rei Harakami
  • Richie Hawtin
  • Squarepusher
  • Stereo MC's
  • Tricky
  • Two Lone Swordsmen
  • Unkle
  • Yoshinori Sunahara
And then there's the acts that I wouldn't mind catching if I happen to be walking by:
  • Alanis Morissette
  • Ani DiFranco
  • Brian Eno
  • DJ Tsuyoshi
  • Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Hothouse Flowers
  • Juno Reactor
  • Kemuri
  • Manic Street Preachers
  • Mogwai
  • Semisonic
  • Stereophonics
  • Travis
And then there are the acts that no-one outside of the artists' immediate families has heard of. Now, you may think that some of those are in the wrong list. If so, why not make a convincing case for why I should see anyone it looks like I don't intend to see (or vice versa, though I can guarantee you'll have a tough time talking me out of the Orbital gig) and we'll see what happens.

Posted by chris at 05:06 PM | Permalink

Abstract electro-funk acid hop

Found via vixgirl, the ultimate tool for wannabe clubnight promoters - make your own electronica genre.

Posted by chris at 11:57 PM | Permalink

My baby is a headfuck

Currently rocking out to The Best of The Wildhearts, borrowed from Brian; merci, Brian.

I don't think I'd heard of them before yesterday, but it appears I've been missing out. They're ace, and their AMG bio makes excellent reading, too... sort of the Sex Pistols meets Aerosmith with shades of The Beach Boys... oh, just find a copy yourself.

Posted by chris at 11:23 AM | Permalink

Mumble mumble

CD (plural) shopping last night - was planning to buy a bunch of stuff before meeting up with friends for dinner, but I ran out of time and had to dash back later to Tower. Just had time to pick up the following before they shut - at 11pm. Heh.

  1. REM - Reveal (I've heard nothing but good things about this - haven't actually listened to it yet, though)
  2. Tricky - Blowback (again, no time to play it yet)
  3. Freestylers - Pressure Point
  4. mumble mumble a trance compilation mumble mumble
  5. Catatonia - International Velvet (haven't heard it since departure of ex-girlfriend's CD collection... come to think of it, she disappeared round about the same time... oh yeah...)
Also picked up Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon on DVD; thankfully the Japanese edition has the English-dubbed version as well as the Mandarin and Japanese - only Japanese subtitles, though. Better than nothing, however, and all of the extra materials (making of, interviews etc) are in English - hurrah.

What a great film - I remember watching it in January in the UK (O2 Centre on the Finchley Road - oh yeah: what the hell happened to the Finchley Road in the space of the three years I was away? It's... well... nice now. What the hell?) and hearing audience members murmur "christ... bloody hell... shit" during the first fight scene - the one where Michelle Yeoh has to keep treading on the thief's foot mid-fight, to stop her rising up into the air and flying away. It was the first time in years I'd heard people applaud during a movie... awesome. Happy now.

Posted by chris at 10:58 PM | Permalink


I can't quite remember how I arrived at this particular combination of tunes, but my current playlist (on my office PC) has evolved into the following:

  1. Alpinestars - Cresta la Wave
  2. All Saints - Black Coffee
  3. Air - Sexy Boy
  4. Future Sound of London - Papua New Guinea
  5. The Family Stand - Ghetto Heaven
  6. GTO - Wonderful
  7. The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?
  8. Bjork - Human Behaviour
  9. Kraftwerk - Tour de France
  10. Quincy Jones - The Self-preservation Society (from The Italian Job)
  11. Puffy - Jet Keisatsu
  12. S-Express - Theme from S-Express
  13. Catatonia - Road Rage
  14. The El Conquistadors - The Ballad of Captain Morgan
  15. The Wonderstuff - Unbearable
  16. Third Eye Blind - Semi-charmed Life
  17. Yoshinori Sunahara - Untitled, from Poptics
  18. Ren & Stimpy - The International Log Song
  19. Underworld - Air Towel
...but it's only 19 songs. Although I'm a big fan of prime numbers... any suggestions for a nice round 20?

Posted by chris at 11:34 AM | Permalink

Shiny disc trophies

Another CD spree at Tower Records. Damn them for being open until 11 every night. This time the shiny disc trophies are as follows:

  1. Lamb by Lamb - Everyone I've spoken to has had nothing but praise for it, so I went and got it. 'Tis good, but on first listening the second half is definitely the more interesting. I love Merge and Gorecki already.
  2. Launch Party German Techno Rally - full of the loud tekno music, ja, made by the people who are called Hans and like the Scooter, ja? Ja.
  3. Ha by Talvin Singh - speculative purchase, really. I'll be chuffed if it's as good as, or better than, OK. Confused yet? Great.
  4. Perlen2 mixed by Thomas Schumacher - more of the German tekno music, ja? Okay, I'll stop the accent now.

Now all I need is some spare time to listen to everything. A shame they don't sell that at Tower. To paraphrase the great Eddie Izzard: you buy all these shiny CDs, you take them home, put them in a bowl in the kitchen..... and watch 'em rot. Maybe I'll have an apple... nah. Ooh, a Mars bar! Yum.

Posted by chris at 02:18 AM | Permalink

Sunshine in a bag

I ain't happy
I'm feelin' glad; I've got sunshine
in a bag; I'm useless
but not for long; the future
is coming on

That Gorillaz album rocks.

Posted by chris at 05:53 PM | Permalink

Lump of Chicken

Well slap me with a feather duster and call me Susan (optional) - "Bump of Chicken" (see below) have gone straight in at number one on the Tower Records J-Pop Singles Chart. My my. Not just a pretty name, then.

And apparently I share a birthday with their bassist. Excellent - now I think I have all the makings of a potentially obsessive groupie.

Posted by chris at 12:08 AM | Permalink

Daft Gorillaz

Sucumbed to a minor CD spree on the way home from work tonight, after drinks with a friend. Shinjuku Tower Records is open until 11pm seven days a week, so it would be rude not to, really. Tonight's shiny things and baubles:

  1. Discovery by Daft Punk (the Japanese version has some very cool Reiji Matsumoto manga artwork on the slipcase)
  2. some new release on Tresor (DJ Shufflemaster? Ken Ishii likes him, apparently... Anyone?)
  3. that bloody Operation Blade by bloody Public Domain (look, it's just because I can't get the frigging thing out of my head, okay? I'm praying it's not too late for a vaccination)
  4. the Gorillaz album (I like the concept and Jamie Hewlett artwork so much that I almost don't care if the music's any good or not - though on the strength of the singles and their recent "live" internet broadcast, I suspect it'll be ace)

So, while we're on the subject: What was the last CD / vinyl you bought?

Posted by chris at 12:00 AM | Permalink

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