Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on April 2010

Courtesy of Unit

With spring in full swing and Golden Week just around the corner, Tokyo’s clubs are giving the locals plenty of reasons to keep partying long after the sun goes down. The Daikanyama area looks like a good bet, with some of dance music’s pioneers rocking up in town.

At the Cabaret party at Unit, nomadic producer Daniel Bell—a veteran of Toronto, Detroit and Berlin—will revive the DBX moniker that he brandished back in the mid-’90s. DBX earned worldwide respect for some seminal minimal techno releases, including 1993’s super-sparse “Bleep” and the 1994 paranoia-inducing trip-fest “Losing Control.”

Interestingly, acid techno artist Josh Wink’s 2002 hit “Superfreak” created a stir thanks to its eyebrow-raising similarity to Bell’s “Phreak,” released ten years prior. That someone like Wink would so closely copy Bell is testament to the influence of the DJ’s early material; original 12” pressings of Bell’s tracks on his first label, Accelerate, now sell for hundreds of dollars online.

Since the turn of the millennium, Bell had opted for decks rather than a live setup. But that changed two years ago, when he was asked by the Detroit Electronic Music Festival to reacquaint himself with DBX. He obviously enjoyed digging out the old analog gear, because two years later the ensuing live tour has taken him around the world, including Nagano’s Taico Club festival in 2008.

The gig at Unit signals the tour’s swan song, so a visit is highly recommended if you’d like to hear some of Bell’s definitive tracks played in their rawest form—and maybe for the last time. If you can’t make it, then be sure to check the re-release of acclaimed mix The Button Down Mind of Daniel Bell on German label Tresor, originally out a decade ago.

Meanwhile, just around the corner, Air will be hosting frequent visitor Francois K, who is celebrating the release of compilation disc Francois K. x Air. The 21-track effort offers a progressive, full-body workout, with spaced-out epic techno such as Borut Margon’s “Fortnight” alongside thumpers like Roberto Bpsco’s “Space Drone.” By releasing mix CDs, Air is following in the footsteps of some of Europe’s biggest clubs—think London’s Fabric and Berlin’s Watergate. But with the emphasis thus far on oldies (albeit goodies)—the previous compilation was by Derrick May—it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to set a similar standard for cutting-edge music.

May 1 @Unit Cabaret. DJs Daniel Bell, Yone-Ko, etc. Live: DBX. May 1, from 11:30pm, ¥3,500. Daikanyama. Tel: 03-5459-8630. www.unit-tokyo.com

May 1 @Air World Connection. House: DJs Francois K, Calm, etc. May 1, from 10pm, ¥3,500. Daikanyama. Tel: 03-5784-3386. www.air-tokyo.com

Francois K. x Air is available on Heartbeat Japan. The Button Down Mind of Daniel Bell is available on Tresor.