Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on September 2009

Courtesy of ArcTokyo Productions

Courtesy of ArcTokyo Productions

Splashing down in Nagano each June, Taicoclub has established itself as an understated but commanding festival on Japan’s dance-music roster. This year’s headliners were more than a match for similar events, with Chilean minimal techno luminary Ricardo Villalobos and outside-the-box British electronica star Squarepusher topping the bill. Delightfully, the upcoming “second Golden Week” string of holidays means that Taicoclub will bestow an extra festival upon us, this time in Higashi-Ogijima in Kawasaki. And once again, the organizers aren’t pulling any punches with the lineup…

One of the most interesting visitants is techno wunderkind Omar-S (right), who during the last couple of years has breathed new life and a distinct “if something’s worth doing, do it yourself” attitude back into dance music. Born in Detroit, the DJ has a multi-faceted sound that ranges from melancholic to minimal, hard to soulful; his accomplished productions belie a relatively brief time in the limelight, and he sounds as if he’s been a household name for decades.

Omar-S’ white-hot mix for the Fabric series, released earlier this year, has attracted widespread acclaim for its seamless blend of the whole gamut of techno genres. The DJ is also gaining a reputation for his outspokenness. His comments on his prolific output and using nothing but his own material for the Fabric mix were, to say the least, charmingly candid: “The majority of my shit is made in a matter of minutes. I’m one of those people that can’t sit still. I just can’t sit in the studio for 30 minutes… I do the shit and that’s it. I don’t need other people’s music; I got over 100 songs released. I can make six Fabric records right now.”

DJ-wise, Omar-S has been taking to the booth all over Europe and the States. To ensure a good time in Kawasaki, festival-goers should try and put the fear in him. “I usually DJ best when I’m scared,” he’s admitted in the past, “because once you got the crowd going, you gotta keep them going. That’s when I’m on my toes.”

Other major acts at this edition of Taicoclub include Plaid, James Holden, DJ Krush, Isolée and Sleeparchive, but with the likes of Theo Parrish and pioneer Carl Craig also present, there promises to be a distinct US vibe.

Craig is a bona-fide legend, known for his wide perspective on dance music and incorporation of jazz and world sounds into his epic productions and remixes. In 2003, his groove-laden disc The Detroit Experiment broke new ground, bringing him together with a host of Detroit jazz and Motown musicians, including Bennie Maupin, Marcus Belgrave and Regina Carter. Craig’s record label Planet-E, founded in 1991, is an authoritative presence in techno, with releases from the man himself, as well as Moodyman, Alton Miller, Mike Clark, Martin Buttrich and Recloose.

“Taicoclub ‘09 Kawasaki”
All-night outdoor festival with Mum, Carl Craig, Sleeparchive, DJ Krush, Omar-S and others. Sep 19, 7pm, ¥9,500 (adv)/¥11,000 (door). Higashi-Koen, Higashi Ogijima, Kawasaki. Info: http://taicoclub.com/