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Friday, April 14, 2006


Psychedelic radar 04.14

Special to The Japan Times Online

Saturday, April 15

Vision Quest Golden Vision

Vision Quest Tokyo presents "Golden Vision" at Zepp Tokyo in Odaiba. Live acts Skazi, Shanti and Alternative Control plus DJs Ami and Roger Jordan.

Start time is 10 p.m. At the door, it's 7,000 yen. Zepp Tokyo is under the big Ferris wheel near Tokyo Teleport Station on both the Yurikamome and Rinkai lines.

Skazi's live sets were the best trance stage shows in Japan both indoor and outdoor in 2005. Asher Swissa and Asaf B-Bass have expanded their high-energy, two-man, punk-flavored act to include extra hands for percussion, guitar or synths as needed (even DJ Ami for vocals), and the result has been phenomenal. This is the kind of revamp that will turn the casual fan into a fanatic, not just change for the sake of change.

Shanti is as Shanti does, and that's "beyond amazing" on both counts. First he disarms you with that boyish charm and then he just starts showing off. DJ or live, expect to lose your head.

This party amazingly coincides with the release of Alternative Control's debut album "Alt + Ctrl" (see below), which hit store shelves on Thursday. Toprek Goran and Rastko Palikuca always put on a powerful show, but on Saturday they'll be playing for keeps.

You can check for Vision Quest news, updates and ring tones for your mobile phone at www.visionquest-tokyo.com/i

Sunday, April 16

Nagisa Music Festival venue map

Brand New Made Inc. presents Nagisa Music Festival -- Spring 2006 at Tokyo Odaiba Open Court, in front of the Fuji Television building. Opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Ticket prices are up from last year. Check the Web site for flier and Clubberia discount information.

This event attracted 11,667 customers last April on a dusty and windy day, spawning a solid early-season party vibe. Of the seven stages running, trance will be playing on the Trance Stage, of course, but also for a few acts on the All Genre Stage.

The Trance Stage lineup promotes some of Japan's best psy-trance talent. Live acts Masa (Space Gathering), Drap Drop (Elf), and Theoreme (3D Vision), plus DJs Ta-Ka (Mother Records), Daijiro (Digital Block), Ryo (Solstice), B-55, Full Moon Mondo, Sal, Shingo, So, and Takaya.

The All Genre Stage will have the legendary Planet B.E.N. along with the ultra-versatile lady DJs Mayuri and Ree.K, as well as Dachambo, a psychedelic-alternative band with twin drums and a didgeridoo.

Last April's event was both a surprise and a success for bringing together such a diverse crowd for a trouble-free and very environment-focused gathering. The vendors and food and drink stands offered great selections for a day out. Unlike at Yoyogi Park downtown, access from either the Yurikamome or Rinkai lines is a breeze. Bring your own shade, umbrellas that can withstand a steady afternoon wind. Priority parking space is provided on-site for the handicapped and free entrance is given to the caretaker. For more information, call (03) 5410-1470, fax (03) 5410-1467, or send e-mail to info@nagisamusicfestival.jp

Saturday, April 22

TPE presents "The Kicks and Kingdom" at Differ Ariake in Odaiba. Live acts Space Cat, System Nipel, Electro Sun and Visual Contact plus DJ sets by Ziki, Bog and Chabo and P'N'O.

Party starts around 10 p.m. Tickets are 5,000 yen advance, or 6,000 yen at the door.

Next week we'll talk some new CDs in DJ Ziki's magical case.

CD Case -- Full-On

"Alt + Ctrl," by Alternative Control (Vision Quest Records, released April 13)

Alternative Control -- Alt + Ctrl

In some alternate universe(s), some really lucky Alternative Control fans are waking up today with different versions of the debut album by Serbian duo Toprek Goran (24) and Rastko Palikuca (21).

In those universes, the first two tracks of our "Alt + Ctrl" have either been put at the end, or, better yet, replaced in favor of a music video by SGK Studios. (Or both, because in some universes, CDs can hold a gigabyte. Why not?) And there it becomes the year's best-selling psychedelic trance release. Again, why not?

Back here in this universe, the year that it took Goran and Palikuca to make "Alt + Ctrl" was well spent and resulted in an exceptionally good debut disc. There's nothing really wrong with Nos. 1 and 2 ("Differ" and "Mr. Wierdoo"), but they set such a dark meandering tone that shoppers in crowded record stores or DJs on the fly might not look any deeper. At the end of the playlist, they serve as meaningful reflective pieces to help you process the AC vibes. Now that you are better informed, you can skip past these strange distractions and create an entirely new album.

Either way, Vision Quest as a record label has scored a serious winner with their first original live act signing. The timing of Saturday's "Golden Vision" party could not have been better for this release.

Goran has been producing music for an incredible nine years. Palikuca hooked up with him about three years ago and together they have created a sensation in Serbia.

As Alternative Control, they have found their groove in creating uplifting morning music. The basslines are colorful with a distinctive accent; the melodies spacious and emotional. The best impression of this is in "Back to the Roots" on Track 3. (I won't say it.) The high chords that rise out of the precision flooring will get you right up on your feet. The rest of "Alt + Ctrl" keeps you pointed uphill on some of the most innovative psychedelic traction seen yet in 2006.

All parties are in Tokyo unless otherwise noted. Send potential party pick info to the2ndroom@yahoo.com

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