Friday, April 29, 2011

Cio D'Or and Donato Dozzy present J

Today Golden Week starts in Japan, and people here can enjoy a much needed holiday over the next week. It has been a difficult period since the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March, but this country has proven its courage and resilience. Japan has drawn on its inner strength, and it has also benefited from the support shown by our friends around the world. More than anything, it is this feeling of solidarity that has helped. And this is where this special mix comes from - a shared bond with and love for the beautiful country of Japan, from two people with very big and beautiful hearts: Cio D'Or and Donato Dozzy.

The mix is a sublime 40 minute journey combining DJ and live electronics, distinguished by the warmth and love that radiates from this music. Cio and Dozz had been working on this for a while, and after the recent disaster here, they wanted to give this as a gift for Japan. Neel kindly mastered the mix to get it sounding just right. And Donato's wife, Koto, provided the photo. To accompany the mix, they all provided some words for Japan:

"Japan's earthquake, tsunami and that huge disaster coming from the Fukushima atomic-reactor was & is a huge shock for the whole world. It distorted a big shadow through my daily life. My first mind was: What to do? How can I help Japan people & all my friends over there?

What can a single human do in this situation?
Steps, that I felt : Not be against something, but for something. 

And giving music for Japanese people & friends.
About music... there isn´t much to say, it talks by itself.
Donato & me agreed to transmit our first co-production mix for you, “J”!
Music*** all over you!


"There are events and circumstances in life where no words are needed. If it's true that music is the primordial language, then I'm trying to express my feelings towards the people I love in the only way I know: through the music...

See you in September."


"I am very happy that Cio and Donato prepared some musical thoughts for the people of the big "J". All I could do was to give my little contribution to that, with deep love and friendship."





Cio D'Or and Donato Dozzy - J

If you download and like the mix, we ask that you consider making a donation to a charity, such as: Second Harvest Japan, Save the Children Japan, Ahinaga-ikuekai, or Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Thank you to Cio, Donato, Neel and everyone else involved in making this mix happen. We will be also being doing some promo CDR versions of this at Disk Union, more info on that soon. Now please enjoy this beautiful, heartful mix. Much love from the J.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Golden Tokyo

As PC wrote yesterday, it is a big couple of days in Melbourne with Virgo 4 tonight and Sandwell District on Friday. While I am disappointed my Australia trip did not last long enough to catch these parties, I am glad to be back in Tokyo for a string of killer events. After a very quiet March and April, Golden Week looks like it will mark a further return back to normality for Tokyo. These are the parties I will be hitting:

Thursday 28 April - Surgeon live @ Unit: Super excited about this one... Ahead of his new album, Surgeon is playing live. Live. Wow. He hasn't produced much recently, but we all know what he is capable of. I'm expecting this to be one of the best things I see in 2011. You can sign up for a web discount for the event here.

Saturday 30 April - Dan Bell @ Unit: Like Surgeon, Dan Bell is a regular visitor and longtime favourite of the Japanese, so it is good these artists happen to be coming back around now. And with Mr Dependable on the decks, I think we know we are in for a good night.

Tuesday 3 May - Peter van Hoesen & Eric Cloutier @ Unit: Ok, so this will be the third time I will be at Unit in under a week. Lucky it is a good club... Peter and Eric are preparing special sets for this show, and with Mindgames in charge you know it'll be a well produced affair. This is going to be an amazing night for sure.

Saturday 7 May - Freaks festival featuring Function, Dan Bell and other people I don't care about somewhere outside: The lineup is a bit random. But Function is playing. And so is Dan Bell. And it is outdoors. That's enough for me to be there.

And that is just Golden Week... The rest of May is looking fantastic with Terre Thaemlitz, Fred P, Atom TM and ASC all scheduled to be playing. Hope to see some ssgs out at these parties!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Partial Reterritorialization, Part Melbourne, 2011: Virgo cum Sandwell cum Melbourne

Well, my whole remorselessly cynical/critical mask just fell off, didn't it? It must have been my jaw dropping the floor that did it.

I don't usually allow myself to get excited about upcoming gigs in Melbourne: keeping my expectations hovering somewhere between the ground floor and the basement is the only way to be pleasantly surprised, most of the time. But how often do two gigs like this hit town, two days in a row?

First on stage this Thursday is Virgo Four. Tig and Blake - with whom I had a ball doing the ssgs xms prty in December, and more generally of Two Bright Lakes fame - have just done a bang up job putting together the Sugar Mountain Festival. I wonder how they find time, considering all the reports I hear of them playing at house parties on the weekend... neatly and nicely for those of us in the +61 3, this also means a Virgo Four sideshow this Thursday at the Toff in Town. It's an early gig, from 8pm, I think, and will be supported by Tig's live/Detroit/amphetamine-n-solvents abusin' Speed Painters, and others. If you read this blog and don't know Virgo Four, well JFGI/... just act like you do – and come along.

Then, on Friday (Pete takes a big, deep breath) we have: not Function. Not Regis. But Sandwell District. The handsomest man in techno AND the best dressed man in techno. Together. And playing for as long as they fucking well want to play. In the Mercat Basement. I'm going to get my hyperbole wand out and tap it in time as I say: I don't think there is a better techno gig happening anywhere in the world on this day, and for once it is in Melbourne. Thank Jahweh for the statistical majority of Deadmau5 fans; now we have Sandwell District playing in Melbourne on a proper rig for a proper amount of time. Sandwell District are playing in Melbourne. Did I mention that... ? anyway... anyway... many many thanks to all the involved peepz for taking soloaction and making this happen, against initial odds... Gig info and some sets/links

I hope to see you there. In proper techno geek style, I will be wearing New Balance shoes, jeans, and either one of the two Stefan Marx t shirts I own. Please come say hi. Visually, it is said that Paul 'Hotflush' Scuba looks like the evil lovechild of Chris and I. 'Cept I am much prettier, naturally. And more excited...


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Sounds

I'm back in Australia for a brief trip to show everyone that I'm not glowing or shaking (too much). The other day a good friend of mine was giving me a lift and he happened to have this TLR mix playing. I hadn't listened to it in years; actually I had totally forgotten about it. But as soon as I heard one bar from the mix it immediately brought back lots of feelings and memories. Since then it has been banging around my head and I have found a new link for it. The original description of the mix is "deep and tearjerking slowjams exporing the darker side of the innerself". That's about right...

TLR - Falling

Slow, epic, beautiful and totally unashamed music straight from the 80s. Have a good Sunday ssgs.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ulf Eriksson tracklist

Here is the tracklist for Ulf Eriksson's killer ssg mix. As you can see, a very good display of all the excellent music coming out on Kontra... This is definitely one of our favourite techno mixes from 2011. If you missed it, don't sleep on this any longer.

Ssg special - Ulf Eriksson (Kontra-Musik)

Robert Hood – Breaking the Chains [Drama]
Jason Fine - Workin´ it Out [Kontra-Musik]
Mokira - Axis Audio (Echospace Model I) [Kontra-Musik] UNRELEASED!
Furesshu – Blackrain EXCLUSIVE!
Octave One – Trak 3 [430 West]
The Skinless Brothers – Backyard [Central]
The Skinless Brothers – It’s The G [Central]
Mokira - Time Track (Silent Servant Remix) [Kontra-Musik]
Marcel Dettmann – Factory Report II [Kontra-Musik]
James Ruskin – Time & Place [Blueprint]
Dark Comedy – Plankton [Art Of Dance]
Planetary Assault Systems – Exploration Of The Ravish [Peacefrog]
Martin Jarl – Mörkaformen_06 [Konvex Konkav]
Shed – Impact [Soloaction]
Millennium to Millennium – Amazon (4 hero version) [UR]
Mokira – Axis Audio [Echospace Model II] EXCLUSIVE!
Jonsson/Alter – Orgelpunkten [Kontra-Musik] UNRELEASED!

New ssg special up next week.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Terre Talks [III of III]: from distro to consumpto, with many ambi♥alent returns...

Hello all,

well, following on from parts one and two of our extended Q&A with Terre, here's part III. This time, the questions turn to focus on use and consumption, with a slight return to some of the ridiculous aspects of promo, and a brief and revealing glance at the Mille Plateaux morass. This Q&A in its entirety is quite text heavy, we know, so please consider printing the beasty out and having a close read – I promise you Terre's insights bear the closest possible scrutiny. Once again, thank you to Terre for her time and thoughts, and thank you to you all for being patient with the uneven publication schedule here.

selling, buying in, selling out:

What are some of the strategies (including the oblique and counter-intuitive ones) that you have developed for selling your work on your terms? I'm really fascinated by the way you've done this, especially the way you've managed to do so many things that others have failed at? What's the secret please, M(r)s?

To be clear, it's never on my terms. I make concessions and compromises all the time, even if some of the people I'm doing business with think I'm a total stubborn asshole who refuses to budge (but there are also definitely people with whom things go very smoothly, and we get along just fine - there's no telling how things go). If anything, most of the strategies I've come up with are last resorts born of desperation and hopelessness. Take the "Dead Stock Archive" offline alternative to online MP3 downloads. It was the result of my frustration from trying to get my illegally uploaded Mille Plateaux albums removed from iTunes, Juno and other major online distributors, and the utter distrust that experience fostered in me towards the major distributors who refused to respond to my correspondences for years. Back then I had absolutely no idea who had uploaded the files (it was Rainer Streubel, who uploaded all the Mille Plateaux back catalog he could lay his hands on without permission in a desperate attempt to earn back his investment after buying the Mille Plateaux name after the 2003 bankruptcy), and the distributors were absolutely not cooperating with my requests for them to tell me with whom they were in contract. That's why I was so quick to go public about the original MP catalog's re-upload into Beatport last year, sending emails to a bunch of press people. What took 4 years to come down the first time took 4 days the second - amazing. But that was also my first real awakening to the viral nature of today's music press, with everything being spammed across a gazillion websites. So I've become a bit uncomfortable with that, too. I mean, I was not expecting that amount of visibility on the subject. I guess I still live with old concepts of low-circulation distribution for "underground" or "independent" or "alternative" journalism. But, anyway, the point is that it's really difficult to get stuff pulled down once it's online. No joke.

I guess my key strategy - if you could call it that - is to bite the hand that feeds me (us), since it's also a hand that smacks me (us). I mean, I'm thankful as hell that I somehow got lucky enough to not have to work in an office environment or something like that - for the moment - but it requires a lot of social sacrifices and living very sparsely. It also means no retirement plan, I no longer qualify for credit cards (even those ones "everyone" can get), etc. I'm not talking about being a pissy egomaniac artist wheeling his white grand piano into the swimming pool because the round bologna doesn't match the square bread (although that will always be one way people see things as filtered through dominant mythologies of what it means to be a musician). I simply believe if one is truly grateful for all one has, rather than relish in one's privileges (as few or great as they are) it is necessary to constantly draw attention to the injustices and imbalances of the lives we lead, and the associative violence our lifestyles enact on others. This means criticizing one's own comfort zone, too. Otherwise we're all just Uncle Toms, no matter what our station in life.


On a major website the other day, the first 'comment' (don't get me started on those) to an album was as follows: 'AMAZING. Perfect for working all day at my desk.'

on another login only promo site, the following two comments, one after the other, both telling

from: XXX YYY (laptop community), 2011-01-18 12:35:02
YES!!\ this is so good, pure magic. please can i have the mp3s\?

from: AAA ZZZ (cleft palate recordings), 2011-01-18 12:22:38
\ i like this collection of tunes. it is funky in its own way. i will support this release.

What can the above comments tell us: who are we, if this is how we are relating to music through each other, and through each other with music?

There's that creepy phrase, "support this release." It's awkward, right? Well, both of these last two posts are clearly by people who frequent sites offering downloads for commentary. They're just fishing for files. The first one - yeah... I mean, we all work while looping an album or something, but to make that the defining point of how one likes the album, it's a little embarrassing. Muzak has changed over the years. It's amazing how every kind of store, restaurant, or office can blast the noisiest rock-hip-hop-alterna-techno-shit these days. I'm always very aware of the elderly walking around in these situations, wondering how it manages to function as white noise from their perspectives - is it easier or harder to ignore than an orchestral version of "Riders in the Storm"? These days a lot of department stores play house classics, so that just about sums up what shit robot pawns we house producers are. I was at an EU airport and the muzak was Ame's "Rej." Like, when I was 13 or 14 years old, that would have been the sign of some utopian future. But all I felt was sorrow.

laptops, piracy, long haul flying and drugs:

In a certain way, electronic music is comprised of the four elements in the title above (or, at least, it would be radically different if you remove one). So... why do we take laptops and long haul for granted, and why can't we talk about piracy and drugs? And/or what would happen if we talked piracy and drugs a little... ?

Clearly because piracy and drugs have legal ramifications that the other two subjects do not. I don't like to talk about drugs because I don't do them - by which I mean I've never even tried a cigarette or finished a beer in my entire life - and I know for most people that instantly disqualifies me from having any understanding of chemical issues, in the same way people who have kids get all preachy and asshole-ish with those of us who consciously do not. But absolutely, we are in the employ of industries - legal and illegal - which use us as ambiance for their chemical pushing. I've said it before, I think the reason my memories of the New York house scene are so much bleaker than the usual stories one hears is because I was taking it all in sober. My memories were not filtered by coke or X or K.

As for piracy, it really depends on what you are pirating. I mean, technically we are pirates every time we sing "Happy Birthday to You," the melody for which was written by Patty and Mildred Hill by the way. It's also very different if you are talking about pirating something born of a corporation that has taken on larger cultural meanings or has become a cultural icon. My favorite example of the cultural hypocrisy around these issues is Andy Warhol's Brillo boxes or Coca-Cola prints, which clearly duplicate copyrighted logos without permission, whereas the Warhol foundation will sue your ass off if you reprint an image of one of Warhol's works without licensing it! How do they make that work?!! Warhol's early works were so important, yet his foundation's legacy is just one huge BM on it all. And everyone in the art world feels the same. It's precisely why I left the visual arts. In any case, I think if one's actions become "piracy" simply as a side-effect of attempting to consciously interact with the culture imposed upon them by industry - to somehow "possess" what has been engrained into them - that is very different than "abusive" or "exploitative" piracy. And exploitation does not always correlate with profit - despite his latter wealth, I do not consider Warhol's prints to be exploiting Brillo, but I do consider the Warhol Foundation to be exploiting Warhol's legacy, and even then they are clearly acting in "defense" of having Warhol's works exploited by the larger art marketplace. So it's all a huge mess with everyone fucking everyone, with very few reach-arounds being offered.

Personally speaking, I took a huge risk with the "Dead Stock Archive," wondering if it would end up torrented. I really don't want my works to be so widely circulated, because they are not intended to function as "pop music." (Even my most "popular" albums have globally only sold a few thousand copies at best, which is as I feel it should be.) But I have to say the handful of people who have bought the "Archive" thus far have been very considerate about not uploading it. I feel they really support my views on file sharing, which is not about advocating for a culture of anal-retentive control, but about responsible use and support... not only financial support of producers, but cultural/ideological support as well. And - particularly within today's cultural climate of over-information (but never the right information) and free everything - there is a power to withholding information from the usual routes of circulation, authorized or unauthorized. It means that the information is used deliberately, and in relevant contexts. It is the reaffirmation of context. And that comes along with the reaffirmation of uncommon or alternative use values that can only be born of "failure." Those same things Gleason called, "the most useless thing in life." I know the common attitude is to put anything and everything out there so they can be "used" (ostensibly in a good sense, as opposed to "exploited"), but amidst the dominant cultural demands epitomized by Gleason, withholding is also a valuable way of keeping non-standard things from becoming defined as "useless."

finally (this old Marx-n-Foucault chestnut):

Who benefits from the situation as it is? And how could things be otherwise?

The rich and powerful. And it won't be otherwise. I realize that sounds incredibly reductionist, but there you go... And the fact it will never be otherwise doesn't mean stop resisting. It's the reason to resist. Non-violent non-cooperation in daily life whenever possible! If only Americanization's language of "dreams" and "hope" could be replaced with a conscious analysis of the unacceptable, filling our minds with the urgency of the moment rather than tainted aspirations of where we'd like to be... which for most people is sitting atop a pile of money, taking revenge on those who used to be above them. We never learn. We never break the systems. Not communally and not for long, anyway. We just regurgitate them, showing the thoroughness of our brainwashing, and the shallowness of our common values. *Sigh*

thank you! hugs (not rugs) P

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ssg special - Ulf Eriksson (Kontra-Musik)

Ulf Eriksson might not be a name many people instantly recognise, but he is the man responsible for what is one of the most consistently high quality techno labels about: Kontra-Musik. In 2010 Kontra did not have too many releases, but every one was spot on: a remix package of Jason Fine with powerful reworks by Oni Ayhun and Ben Klock, Gunnar Jonsson's gorgeous 'Muskelminne' EP (including 'Morgonanga', one of my favourite tracks of the year), an impressive debut from Kondens (made up of Andreas Tilliander and Stefan Thor), and Jason Fine's 'Colors' EP, which represents perhaps his strongest work to date. And how did they start 2011? With Dettemann producing some of his most interesting output of late, and now a series of Mokira EPs with originals being complemented by some killer remixes, which will conclude with the release of the Mokira album. All in all, a pretty good effort, if you ask us...

This is a long way of saying that if you look at what Kontra has been doing, it is pretty clear that whoever is behind it really knows their shit. So we were very keen to hear what Ulf, the label boss of Kontra, would do in a mix. The result do not disappoint. Bringing together a tight selection of quality techno tracks, Ulf creates a strong sense of atmosphere and space in his mix. This is mountain techno, one for dancing in the fog somewhere in the hills.

Ulf had this to say about it:

"The mix is featuring a lot of old and new Kontra-Musik tracks. Several are not released yet, but will be soon. It also includes a Mokira - Echospace remix, exclusive to this mnml ssgs mix. Mixed with the Kontra-Musik trax is music that I have played a lot through the years and that all have been important to me. Nothing necessarily new, hot and trendy but instead music with a long lasting quality. The mix is recorded in my living room on 3 technics 1210 decks, one pioneer 800 cdj and a Vestax PMC 50 mixer. No more no less..."

Ssg special - Ulf Eriksson (Kontra-Musik)

Full tracklist for the mix will be up next week. As mentioned, Kontra-Musik are very busy this year. At the moment they've got 3 x Mokira 10" coming out with originals and remixes from Silent Servant, Echospace and Redshape. I can strongly recommend all of these, the Redshape dub in particular. The Mokira album 'Time Axis Manipulation' will be out soon on digital and CD, and after that some more EPs from Jonsson/Alter and Kondens. And for anyone in/near Malmö, on 21 May there will be a Mokira release party at Inkonst with Mokira live, Marcel Dettmann and Ulf Eriksson DJ'ing. For more info, check the Kontra-Musik homepage and soundcloud.

Big thanks to Ulf for this mix. Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Enter the Labyrinth

Two very important bits of news from the Mindgames crew:

1. The dates for Labyrinth 2011 have been announced:

17 - 19 September at Naeba, Niigata.

2. And for those of you in Tokyo, Mindgames are doing a party over Golden Week to officially start the countdown towards this year's Labyrinth. One of Lab's resident DJs - Peter van Hoesen - will be playing, alongside Bunker boy Eric Cloutier. Needless to say, this lineup is very mnml ssgs friendly...

Enter the Labyrinth
Peter van Hoesen
Eric Cloutier

Tuesday 3 May at Unit
Open 23:30, Start 24:00.
4,000 yen on the door.

More info

We'll keep everyone updated Labyrinth, as information is announced. In the meantime, we are really looking forward to seeing Peter and Eric back in J-land!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rolling blackouts mix

Dave the silent ssg was supposed to be one of the DJs in the chill out room at our mnml ssgs party, which had to be postponed because of the recent earthquake that shook us here in Japan. His preparations were not wasted, however, as he has put together this really lovely mix for us. What I particularly like about it is the way he combines timeless, classic music (Autechre, Plastikman, KLF etc.) with some more obscure 80s synthy stuff. Anyway, this is what Dave had to said about it:

'This was the sort of mix I was intending to play at the mnml ssgs party.  I was planning to play some lighter tracks at the party, but after the events leading to the postponement my track choices became darker.  While the mix isn't directly related to the recent Tokyo events, I feel it's a pretty good reflection on how I was feeling a couple of weeks ago with the constant blackouts, aftershocks and radiation threats.  I've recently been interested in the resurgence of '70s and '80s inspired electronic music as it's a return to the warmer, more "authentic" electronic sounds so I decided to select a mix of old and new examples of this sound along with a few other ssg-friendly picks.'

Dave the silent ssg - rolling blackouts mix


Saturday, April 2, 2011

The view from Tokyo

'Music is the medicine of the breaking heart.' Leigh Hunt

Since the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on 11 March, I have been amazed with the outpouring of concern by the techno community. People in this country have deeply appreciated this support. There have been a lot of people worrying the situation in Japan, especially in regards to the Fukushima nuclear plant. So far, however, the vast majority of this commentary has been coming from people outside of the country. I have been thinking about what to say for quite some time, and I have held back because I am still experiencing everything happening here, processing it all, and I haven't felt ready to share my thoughts. But my feeling is that it is now time to say something as there are certain (mis)perceptions about the situation in Japan, and these are already having some harmful and potentially very significant consequences. To be clear, I am not going to talk about the earthquake, tsunami, the ongoing nuclear situation, or the general impact of these events on Japan. What I am going to address is specifically the relationship between these events and the techno community here and abroad. This is certainly not to disregard these larger issues - notably, on a most basic level the ongoing human suffering that has been caused by these catastrophic events - but there is already a huge amount of information and analysis out there, and I am not sure there is much valuable that I can add in this forum (I am, however, working on addressing some of these issues in my day job). On the specific question of how all of this impacts on techno here, as someone who lives in Tokyo and is part of the techno scene in Japan I believe this is something I can address. What I am writing is based on my own knowledge and experiences, and has benefited from discussions with other people involved in the scene.

What has been very clear from the response to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami is the deep, strong bond that exists between Japan and the larger electronic music community. I have been amazed and overwhelmed by the level of concern that has been displayed. On a personal level, I have received so many emails and messages from artists we've worked with, labels, PR people, fellow bloggers / media types, and, of course, our readers. This was just my own experience of a much wider phenomena. I strongly feel that techno has long had a special relationship with Japan. Many artists that have visited have been deeply influenced and impacted by their time here. I have lost count of the amount of interviews I've read where Japan is listed as the DJ's favourite place to play. Japan has also been an important staging point in the development of techno music, one need only think about something like Jeff Mills genre defining mix CD recorded at the Liquid Room in Tokyo. And for techno artists, the first gig in Japan is seen as an important milestone in one's career. On a more general level, Japan - and people's perceptions of Japan (especially its 'futuristic' image) - have inspired many tracks, albums and projects. This deep affection for, and fascination with, Japan has manifest itself in the remarkable way the techno community has responded to the disaster. There has been benefit gigs to raise money for Japanese disaster relief from the UK to Germany to US to Australia and many other places. Beatport and other online retailers have donated portions of their earnings. And there have been a quick succession of compilations to raise money for various Japan related charities. The amount of artists that have been willing to donate music to these different releases has been truly staggering.

This very genuine outpouring of support has been appreciated, and it is needed at a time when electronic music here - like all other parts of our lives - has been deeply affected by this disaster. The vibrant club scene that has helped put Tokyo on the map has come to an almost complete standstill. Aftershocks, power cuts, radiation fears, artist cancellations, and feelings of uncertainty and sadness have all contributed to most club events since the earthquake being cancelled. It has been 3 weeks now since the earthquake, and life is slowly returning to normal here in Tokyo (unfortunately the same cannot be said about further north). Shibuya crossing is not full of its usual bright lights, some food and liquid is missing off supermarket shelves, but Tokyo is settling and people are going about their daily lives. And, as part of this, clubs are re-opening and parties are happening again. It has been a difficult and stressful time, and people need these outlets, they need to relax, be with friends and share music together.

Unsurprisingly the techno scene in Japan is a long way from normal, and it has been hit hard by these events, as have many other industries in this country. Sales at record stores have plummeted in recent weeks, I have heard figures that sales are down 40%. If this persists, there is the danger that one or two of the few remaining record stores in Tokyo will go out of business. This is also an issue for the larger techno community, given that Japan remains one of the main buyers of vinyl. Clubs and promoters have lost huge sums of money due to cancelled events, clubs not opening, and attendances being considerably down. Local DJs are missing opportunities to play, and get paid, because of cancelled parties. Likewise, most club staff, who are casually employed, are going without their usual income. Of course it is understandable and unavoidable that in the weeks after the disaster clubs were closed. But even if life is returning to normal in Tokyo, this is not happening for the clubs. Artists and their booking agents are continuing to cancel, or threaten to cancel for events in April, May and beyond. The most extreme example of this is the Red Bull Music Academy deciding to relocate this year's events from Tokyo, despite the fact that it was not due to start until October. I understand that there is considerable concern about the nuclear situation in Fukushima, but responses to this are being driven much more by fear than science. The international media has sensationalised and greatly exaggerated the possible risks. Artists playing here would pick up more radiation flying to Japan than they would by staying here a couple of days, and their health would probably suffer more from the amount of sake they would drink rather than eating anything contaminated. Certainly at this stage cancelling something not scheduled until October is a big over-reaction.

In light of this current situation, what I think it is necessary for the electronic music community to understand is that the club scene in Tokyo is very vulnerable. It simply is not the Tokyo of 10-15 years ago where DJs were paid huge sums of money and were treated like kings. This might still apply to a few very select people, like Richie Hawtin etc., but most clubs and promoters do not have the money to pay the high fees they used to. The fact that airfares are so much more expensive to Japan really limits how much money there is for artists fees. And club revenues are not what they used to be. These days many young people are unemployed, while many that are employed receive low wages, and this also means they are going out less. And when people do go out they are drinking less and have less money to spend. Also something which is common here, which I haven't seen to the same degree in Australia and the UK, is that within club culture there is an expectation that there should be discounted entry for parties, either through bringing a flyer or having your name on a discount list (something much easier to get on to than a guest list). A lot of people here will actually not go out if they can't get a discount (this relates to the issues I mentioned above about people not having that much disposable income). The result is that parties and clubs operate on very small profit margins, as door prices have been pushed down excessively. To put things in perspective, with our planned mnml ssgs party (which had to be cancelled), based on our advance price of 2,500 yen and door prince of 3,000 yen, we calculated that it was basically impossible for us to hold the party without losing a decent sum of money, yet to raise the door price any higher would have likely seriously impacted on the number of people who would come. So for those putting on parties here, there simply isn't that much wriggle room. Despite Tokyo being a metropolis, there are not actually that many people into techno music and regularly going to clubs. Indeed, given the size of the population, there are not many techno clubs here, so if one or two clubs have to close, this will have a big impact on the whole scene. From what I have been told, already one small club in Tokyo has closed directly as a result of losses following the earthquake. Add in the police and authorities being very conservative and not at all understanding and tolerant of club culture, and you have a combination of factors that makes the Tokyo scene very vulnerable. And if the Tokyo scene suffers, so does all of Japan. Given the expense of flights, parties in Osaka and other cities rely on flight shares with Tokyo clubs to make touring artists viable.

The vulnerability of electronic music here is hardly unique to Tokyo, these are issues that club scenes face in many cities. So why I am explaining all of this? Obviously I care about the scene here and I want it to be strong. Beyond that, I think there is a lot of misperception about the scene in Tokyo, it is not as strong as it looks. The Japanese put on a brave face, but this doesn't mean they aren't hurting. I know the clubs here are losing a lot of money, I have even heard stories of club staff having to work without pay to keep the places operating. If things do not normalise soon, I think there is a realistic possibility that at least one of the bigger clubs will close. Even if they manage to stay open, they will have even less money to pay for artists and parties.

To return to a point I made near the beginning - Japan has been, and continues to be, an incredibly important place for electronic music. I firmly believe that Tokyo, along with a number of other cities such as Berlin, London and New York, plays a pivotal and fundamental role in electronic music. And because of this, if the scene here really weakens, the effects will reverberate across the larger techno community. I think this is something that has been considered carefully enough by the techno community. The consequences will potentially reach much further than Tokyo and Japan.

Now, at a time when Japan is suffering, this is when we really need your support. I understand why some artists have cancelled, there has been a lot of fear and uncertainty generated the nuclear situation, but if you look at what the experts are saying, what the radiation levels in Tokyo are etc., continuing to cancel and to avoid Japan seems like a major over-reaction that has damaging consequences for the scene here. People in Tokyo are settling, but of course people are still not completely normal. More than ever, now is a time when music matters. The perfect example of this was Derrick May coming to Tokyo and playing at Dommune last week. It is hard to understate how important this was for people here - so many of the Japanese comments on twitter were people writing that they were crying. Derrick May being here, supporting us, sharing his music, this mattered. In contrast, the Red Bull Music Academy making the decision to cancel an event that was not scheduled until October and November was abandoning this country at exactly the time when we need support. RBMA's decision was narrow, shortsighted and damaging. If it had gone ahead, it could have given a much needed boost to the scene right when it was needed. Instead RBMA gave Japan a kick when it was down. I understand for artists and their booking agents, which are hearing sensational reports in the media and not knowing what the actual situation like is here in Japan, cancelling might seem like the only option. And, of course, promoters and clubs here cannot guarantee that the situation here is 100% safe, though I am not sure how different this is from day to day life where we have been socialised to live with many kinds of risks and dangers. But it is important for people outside of Japan to really understand - life in Tokyo is returning to normal. We are not glowing, another Chernobyl is not imminent, the sky is not falling down, and the food still tastes great.

What I am trying to say is: artists, booking agents and organisers, please think carefully about the situation here. Try to make decisions that are not motivated by panic. Think about the consequences of your actions - for the scene in Japan, for the larger techno community, and for yourselves. If you have benefited from Japan in the past, please think about that at a time when we now need your help. Life needs music, and more than ever I feel that is the case here in Japan. Please continue to support us.

One good thing about music
When it hits you feel no pain
So hit me with music
Hit me with music now
Hit me with music, hit me with music

Bob Marley