Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tobacco-Stained Party, Tokyo 東京 25/3

These are strange times here, for all too obvious reasons - and sometimes it feels like we’re collectively treading water awaiting the next Big Thing to transpire. Meanwhile the reactors still belch scary looking clouds and we get shaken by dozens of aftershocks everyday.

I know this cuts a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but a high percentage of events and parties have been cancelled here in Tokyo, and attendance is lower than usual at the places that're still open.

A lot of the DJ/producers I know are spending most of their time at home, creating tunes – or putting together worthy benefit compilations, like the ones coming out through Shin Nishimura’s Plus Tokyo label and another called Kibou that’s being put together by Japanophile DJ Hi-Shock through his Elektrax label – which features contributions from a wad of Japan’s finest techno bods.

It’s been mad timing for my new novel to come out; teaches me to write a yarn that’s been described as “post-apocalyptic noir.”

I’m supposed to have the Tokyo book launch this Friday 25th March (in other words tomorrow) at the Pink Cow in Shibuya, but the postal service is all screwed up so there's a big chance I won’t be getting the books themselves in time from the U.S. - not through lack of trying by Kristopher and Christine @ Another Sky Press, but, as I say, our timing has been out-of-whack with nature.

I'm still praying to an empty mead hall of Norse gods that UPS will be able to get the books out of Japanese customs - where they've been since Monday - and here into my lap in time. Hell, if not for the party itself, I just want to hold and stroke the beastie that's taken so much time of my life to complete!

Anyway, after much soul-searching, mood-swings, flip-flopping and so on, we’re doing the launch party, regardless of earthquakes and/or radiation levels.

All this extra added stuff does give us nice fodder for silly quips about glowing in the dark at the party (and therefore no need for lighting, boom-boom), plus going tree-friendly “green” at a book launch. Etcetera, ad infinitum. And so on.

Anyway, that brings me to the bloody brilliant DJ line-up, which includes:

Ko Kimura, DJ Wada, Jin Hiyama, Cut Bit Motorz, Eri Makino, Toshiyuki Yasuda, Devin Wine, Little Nobody and Paul McQuade. Oh yeah, and me. We had Shin Nishimura on board initially, but he's understandably taken his young family out of this city.

Proceedings kick off from 6:00pm sharp, and if we get enough people we'll probably go all night. Whether we do or not is a matter for conjecture.

Entry is a measly ¥500 coin on the door, which equates to about US$6.10 - in keeping with our age-old IF? Records idea of keeping event prices cheap. Dunno why - we never, ever make any money out of these things, but at least we get a nice warm feeling about our frugal ideals.

In case you haven't read elsewhere in this blog, the novel itself is called Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat and is being published by U.S. label Another Sky Press.

The book will be out in stores by 31 March 2011.

For tomorrow's launch I was s'posed to do a reading from the novel, a Q&A about it all, and book signings/sales - but the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, and the subsequent nuclear reactor problems, threw a few spanners into the works. The bigger picture is so much more important than personal extravaganzas like this - so we've decided that we'll do it as just a way in which to unwind from 24/7 news and the stress of the past 12 days, to relax, chill and listen to good music.

Besides, I never was quite so comfortable about doing the wanky reading thing - it's just not me. At worst I'd misrepresent the novel with a wayward monologue.

Here's a bit of guff about the DJ/musicians involved at the launch, who are way cool cats I really admire here in Tokyo, and deserving of kudos above and beyond what I do - please take the time to check them all out for their superb electronic muzak, live set-ups, and skills behind the decks/CD-Js:

DJ WADA is one half of Co-Fusion, one of Tokyo's top DJs, and released through Sublime, Elektrax, IF? & Pro-Jex

KO KIMURA is one of the preeminent DJs in Japan, a superlative veteran behind the decks who continues to push the perimetres of electronic music.

JIN HIYAMA is not only Go Hiyama's brother, but an excellent painter, designer and DJ/producer himself, with a recent EP out through Blank Records.

CUT BIT MOTORZ is the current Japanese electronic enfant terrible, breaking through in 2010 with releases through IF? and Elektrax.

TOSHIYUKI YASUDA has worked with Señor Coconut (aka Uwe Schmidt from Atom Heart) and Chicks On Speed as well as with me, and runs the way cool Megadolly imprint.

ERI MAKINO is one of Tokyo's best leftfield purveyors of electronica and acoustics, having released through A Chain Brick Yard and Emilii Records.

DEVIN WINE has performed as a guitarist, bass-player and vocalist in various bands around Tokyo, and makes electronic music as Admiral Anderision.

is perhaps Tokyo's best-kept secret - till now, wethinks. Heck, we don't even have a website to connect to, but this is one very cool Scottish import.

Let's hit it tomorrow, mates.

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