Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on August 2009
Just when you were ready to consign big techno raves to the pop culture graveyard, fall arrives with signs of renewed life. Nowadays, though, these once-counterculture events are the province of major labels, big-league promoters and deep-pocketed sponsors.
Beginning with this weekend’s 11th Wire at Yokohama Arena and continuing next week with outdoor all-nighter Metamorphose, the next few months will also see two huge electronica festivals out at the Makuhari Messe convention center, in the form of The Prodigy’s Warrior Dance Fest and seminal UK dance imprint Warp’s 20th anniversary celebrations.
Wire is the brainchild of Takkyu Ishino (below), better known to the mainstream as one half of techno pop duo Denki Groove. In contrast to the humor-spiced work of that group, Wire has always emphasized the harder dancefloor sounds to be heard at Ishino’s Womb residency Sterne, as well as his deep connections with the German techno scene.
The event tends to feature a revolving cast of collaborators, like Berliner Ellen Allien, Swede Christian Smith and local beat-boys such as Fumiya Tanaka and Ken Ishii, all of whom are on the bill this year. But there are also several first-timers who represent younger generations of techno exponents.
Among them is Paris-based producer Popof, who has remixed the likes of Moby and whose bleepy single “Alcoolic” has been found in the crates of DJs like Ricardo Villalobos. Also making his Wire debut is Gui Boratto from Sao Paulo, an exponent of “shoegazer house” (which grafts the guitar psychedelia of indie rock onto house beats) who has released numerous tracks from key German imprint Kompakt…
Meanwhile, another sort of Wire is also showing its longevity. Shinjuku club Wire—next to Hanazono shrine—is one of the longest-running venues in town, occupying a space that used to house the legendary Milo’s Garage. Together, the venues represent more than two decades of Tokyo nightlife, and now a newly renovated Wire is relaunching with a party next weekend. The event, Club Sexi, is brought to you by the same folks that represent infamous fetish carnival Torture Garden…
Speaking of long life, Nishi-Azabu megaclub Alife is celebrating its seventh anniversary in a tie-up with French-American artist Karen Joubert Cordier. The club has commissioned a series of novelty goods for partygoers by the artist, who is known for paintings of exotic “imaginary forests.” Giveaways go to the first 200 customers on both nights of the “7th Anniversary Night Carnival ‘09” weekend.
WIRE09@Yokohama Arena, Aug 29. Club Sexi@Club Wire, Sep 4. Alife 7th Anniversary Night Carnival ’09@Alife, Aug 28-29. See club listings for details.