Wednesday, September 8, 2010

getting ready for labyrinth...

labyrinth is fast approaching. less than two weeks away... it is only really hitting me how close it is. i'm getting very excited for a whole bunch of reasons. an amazing lineup, plenty of friends coming, a big group of techno lovers making the trip from overseas, dozzy's 40th birthday during the event, both PC & myself both being at a party for the first time in i don't know how long, and many other reasons i'm looking forward to lab...

so here is a post with a bunch of labyrinth-related stuff, including some tips for people making the trip for the first time.

first things first, if you haven't bought your ticket, i'd suggest you do so now. and if you need any more incentive (why on would you?!), disk union are doing a final promo CDR mix to tie in with labyrinth: a very special mix from donato dozzy...

next: interviews with two lab and ssgs favourites: donato dozzy & peter van hoesen in english & japanese (dozz & PvH). the most important things to take from the interviews are:

dozz: 'i'm going to perform 3 sets during the laby 10th anniversary!  kosmische music, ambient/downtempo, and techno.'

PvH: 'The live set has been changed for Labyrinth in that sense that it's one of the only places where I can present slower, more psychedelic sounds. For this occasion I have prepared new material, new tracks which have not been played out before.... My dj set will be a bit different from what I did the last time, with a bit more attention to abstract sounds and breakbeats.'

more: clubberia has done a special feature on labyrinth, which i'd strongly recommend checking. they've interviewed russ & so, two of the core organisers. if you want to know a bit more about the thinking and concept of the festival, it is definitely worth having a look at the interview. what comes through is exactly how much thought goes into lab. and there are pictures from all the previous editions. amazing to see how the festival has developed over the 10 years...

clubberia also has a new podcast which is a live recording from one of the highlights of the 2009 labyrinth: natural/electronic.system. going back to my report from last year, i described this set as: 'perfectly weighted set of deep, heady techno'. definitely give it a listen.

CB43: natural/electronic.system. @ labyrinth 2009 pt 1
CB44: natural/electronic.system. @ labyrinth 2009 pt 2

one of the things that will make this year's labyrinth a bit different is that there are quite a lot of people who are making the trip to japan for it. now i'm living in japan, but the last 2 years i've travelled here specifically for labyrinth, and all i can say is that for me it has definitely been worth the effort. and given that things are a bit different over in japan, and labyrinth is a bit of a different event as well, i thought i'd give some tips for labyrinth first-timers. to be clear, this is not an offical guide or anything, but i think the organisers will be posting something on the mindgames website in the next few days, so keep an eye out for that too.

a few tips for labyrinth

  • lab is not your usual event (but you know this by now). it is outdoors. it is in japan. there are no compromises. it might rain. the sun will shine. it will probably get cold. the music will be... well, we will have to find out. best way to approach the whole event is with an open mind.
  • please remember that things work a bit differently in japan. just be aware of that and be respectful of the differences. my advice is picking up a lonely planet guide book or something similar before coming here. japan is not another planet, but it ain't europe, that's for sure.
  • one important thing to realise is that nasty trance parties have given outdoor events a bit of a bad name here. the authorities are much stricter in japan than in europe, so please don't go around trying to score. that would be an absolutely horrible idea. there is a fully stocked bar where you can purchase all kinds of alcoholic beverages. feel free to use it.
  • it is an outdoor party, so be prepared for all weather. it can get very hot during the day so remember a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. and definitely deodorant. no one likes smelly ravers. at night it gets cold. fast. so bring some warm clothes. last year it got freezing when it went dark. you will struggle without warm clothing. also sometimes around late september you get typhoons (it is raining like crazy today), so either bring a rain jacket or buy a poncho here. just remember what the boy scouts say: be prepared!
  • if you haven't worked out how to get there yet, train will probably be your best option. anyway, mindgames has info on how to get there.
  • bring a torch. leave the glowsticks at home.
  • plenty of people get dressed up, but this doesn't mean they are into cosplay... anyway, feel free to join in the fun.
  • there are plenty of great food stalls at the party (much better than any other event i've been to), but you might want to bring some extra food/snacks in case you get hungry.
  • pace yourself. it is a long couple of days. you don't want to run out of gas before dozzy's closing set. 
  • a lot of overseas mobile phones don't work in japan. just be prepared that you might be out of contact for a couple of days. but this might not be a bad thing.
  • if you see me during function, don't talk to me. i am busy.
  • in short, just be sensible and have fun. it is going to be great!
  • EDIT: one other thing i remembered: most ATMs here do not accept overseas bank cards. in major centres like shinjuku, shibuya etc., there are citibanks, but other places you might struggle. in the past 7-11 ATMs accepted foreign cards, i dont know if they still do. regardless, it is highly unlikely you will have access to ATMs up where labyrinth is, so make sure you bring enough cash!!!
if you have any questions about the event, please leave them in the comments here and we will try to answer them. for more general stuff about japan, get a guide book and/or look online. all of this is a much better option than bugging the organisers, who i can promise you are now working like crazy to prepare everything. also keep an eye on mindgames for updates. the timetable is normally announced about a week in advance, so you've got plenty of time to prepare yourself. we'll make sure to post it when it comes out. russ says in that video interview that dozzy is opening AND closing the festival. so make sure you are there for the whole event!

and last, but certainly not least, the next ssg special will be from an artist playing at lab for the 1st time. that'll be up soon.


  1. Looks like a legendary event! Can't wait to hear about it. For those going, I'm pretty sure most post offices have atms that accept foreign cards. Have fun!

  2. if anyone has more questions am also available to answer some. was in japan for 8 years so know the place pretty well. i know chris is working so he probably doesnt have the time either... cheers

    New music radio
    Marcel Fengler, Nop & more coming!

  3. Wish I could go~

    Like the n/e.s. set (ssgmx23 gets strong rotation in my iphone, both parts), but wish it weren't recorded so heavily in the red.

  4. many thanks for the information, many thanks for the mnml ssgs, we wouldnt be going if it wasnt for you all - see you on the floor, love v and c

  5. Nice tips Chris. Thanks. Can't say how excited I am now :-0

    (If you're up for a pre-festival beer, btw, let me know. I'll be around from Monday and contactable on 00447806771333, or via the usual email. Would be good to catch you before the shit hits the fan.)

  6. most post offices do indeed have ATM's that will happily allow you to withdraw money from foreign cards (both credit and debit). they even have a button you can press to have the instructions/screen in english.

    very handy.

    one day I'll manage to time one of my trips to japan to coincide with laybyrinth. maybe next year if i'm lucky! :D

  7. how easy is it getting to - from festival and naeba central? i am being a pussy and staying in concrete accomodation ya see.

    cheers for the checklist by the way.


  8. thanks for the comments and input guys.

    @jonny: last year it was a bit inconvenient, to be honest, but still worth it. they have a shuttle about once an hour. the timing wasn't always great, and once or twice we were waiting a while. but definitely definitely worth it. staying in a hotel makes life a lot easier! if you tried to walk it'd be about an hour i think...

  9. Hey, when is the timetable coming out???

  10. so gutted to not be in attendance this year, but i'm marking my calendar (sorta) for next year and i fully plan to be there, without question.

    everyone enjoy!!

    and hello to the lab family i met last year!!


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