At clubs shining mirror ball, tiny log like loft bars, or ruined warehouses, smoky industrial towns, moonlit midnight beaches, uncivilized foggy campsites....the countless corners there are Japanese underground House parties going on as if to slip through the tough civil laws against club culture stiffening up & up. No, it might not be preferable to call it House Music any more when you see plenty enough DJs already having their own concept of "House Music" and playing any sounds to get the floor frenzy, Disco, Dub, Reggae, New Wave, Funk....whatever. Meanwhile it's obviously no longer what we called House Music now. So the audiences respond very quickly. It would be no problem to say the audiences unconsciously have been led to "cross-over" attitude, for instance, Disco music from the big sound system could carry them away, but the next track, Punk music, coming in, it'll have them start to make a tight fist, would like them to "mosh" as if they had waited for the moment so long. Now often you witness the weird (at least we thought it before) scene mixed up of the both cultures from "club" and "live house". People get together to look for that "special" experience more through the music, regardless of the genre, they are much more aware of enjoying parties. Such a Balearic phenomena has been happening eventually but steadily in Japan. Please take a look some example of the scene with some heads-up parties. "HOUSE OF LIQUID", the party taken place since 2002 by MOODMAN and NAOHIRO UKAWA. MOODMAN is the DJ/producer releasing MIX CD "WEEKENDER" in '02 and a remix work for [FLYING RHYTHMS], or some compilations...His eclectic DJ style also has set us to the new frontier beyond House Music. The other half, NAOHIRO UKAWA is a designer/VJ always opens up the alternative media scene. Then "GODFATHER", another massive party launched by the forenamed two artists joined by the well appreciated expert DJ, TORU TAKAHASHI. "LIFE FORCE", it's one of the best party communities held at any warehouses in the suburbs of Tokyo, or a plateau in the local city like Nagano, even at Himalayan mountains, with the support by NICK THE RECORD, FOOLISH FELIX from UK. What is more, you should not miss...["KOUENJI GRASSROOTS"], the very eclectic party having seriously ridden in the last 2,3 years among any "hard-core" clubbers. The party came on the scene by involving DJ HIKARU (BLASTHEAD), JUZU A.K.A. MOOCHY, DOEL SOUND FORCE as the resident, also with younger generation. Or in another city, you will find the party collective called ["FLOWER OF LIFE"], based in [OSAKA MISONO MACAO/UNITED UNDERGROUND "TSURU NO MA"], set up by VJ BETALAND in 2002. It's no doubt the Japanese underground scene is seceretly getting moving, and in there you may find the shadow of the fragmented roots of them; PARADICE GARAGE, LOFT, GALLERY, MUSIC BOX, WAREHOUSE, and even MOIST, SECOND SUMMER OF LOVE.
Furthermore, a bunch of Japanese artists has grown up on highly unique domestic labels, or collaborated with international labels or artists outside Japan. [CRUE-L RECORDS], it's the label launched by KENJI TAKIMI (A.K.A. LUGER E-GO), now in a keen attention worldwide with their left-field stance bringing in their Rock roots dance music. Then, the unit by DJ KENT & DJ KZA, FORCE OF NATURE. They have had a lively time as DJs, the producing works include 2 full-length albums on [LIBYUS MUSIC], and some 12" singles on the West Coast tech house label, [HEADINGHOME]. The half FORCE OF NATURE, DJ KENT is also known as the 1st Japanese artist released on [BEAR FUNK], UK. And no to mention EYE (EYE YAMATAKA, HANATARASH...) from BOREDOMS here. He is the avant-garde guy who working with YOSHIHIDE OTOMO under the name "CARHOUSE", also as "NAKED CITY", which internationally much familiar works with JOHN ZORN. His talent is more than that, now as a DJ, he just released 12" single on his own label KAZOO, which is coming with totally free-minded structure still maintaining the dance music format but in his own understanding. Also don't forget ALTZ, from the best Osaka underground party collective "[FLOWERS OF LIFE]". They've drawn IDJUT BOYS's attention for quite some time now, and just became the 2nd BEAR FUNK artist from Japan, to follow up DJ KENT. From Dub scene, the unit called [FLYING RHYTHMS], the band formed mainly by NAOYUKI UCHIDA, the member of LITTLE TEMPO, DRY & HEAVY (you might know them with the releases on the pure dub label [LASTRUM], the home of BLASTHEAD), more to say artists should be checked out, LATIN QUARTER is creating unique dance music using only MPC2000, and [JUZU A.K.A. MOOCHY] is the Hybrid sound creator who love to journey back and forth between Cuba and Japan (and their music is purely in between the two countries).... Interesting artists are crushing in subterranean water vein in Japan. Since the net surfing has brought us any global information on our hands, it's formed a perfect setting for Japanese artists start digging's their own roots and build up a distinctive scene. Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Fukuoka...as a result that lots and lots of individual Japanese DJs/artists have delved deeply into the fresh idea and the dope atmosphere which the "party" originally should have, a real domestic scene has finally come up as if two odd things would be easily co-existed. Crowds still continue to dig a bigger hole to find out more hot sounds in this Japanese underground House scene.
TEXT: AYAKA ISHIDA(JET SET TOKYO)TRANSLATOR: HIROHIDE TOOYAMA(JET SET KYOTO)
MOODMAN GRASSROOTS LIFE FORCE V.A. / TROPICAL JAPONICA MOODMAN / STRICTLY ROCKERS 12 CRYSTAL / SLEEZY @ GRASSROOTS 05.MAR.2005 ケイヒン・ザ・サード / スミソニック ACKKY / DJ'S FROM ACKKY LIVE MIX VOL.01 CRUE-L RECORDINGS EYE ALTZ FRAN-KEY / TETRAPOD LOVE TAKUJI AKA GEETEK / ROCK / RAKUEN KAORI / OASIS LIFT BOYS A.K.A. EYE / ANARCHY VILLAGE / ANARCHY WAY ALTZ / EASY AMIGO EP FORCE OF NATURE FORCE OF NATURE / UNSTOPPABLE FORCE OF NATURE / 2 FORCE OF NATURE / A DARK NEBULA ENTERPLAY / WATER & DUST ENTERPLAY / WATER & DUST EP FLYING RHYTHMS LATIN QUARTER FLYING RHYTHMS / RHYTHM CONNECTION (12") FLYING RHYTHMS / RHYTHM CONNECTION (CD) FLYING RHYTHMS / DORAGON BALLS / SOFT CORE DUB REMIX LATIN QUARTER / LIGHT HOUSE LATIN QUARTER / DSCFNKMX JUZU A.K.A. MOOCHY JUZU A.K.A. MOOCHY / MORNING GROW JUZU A.K.A. MOOCHY / MOMENTOS V.A. / EARLY MIX WORKS OF JUZU A.K.A. MOOCHY