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Friday, March 3, 2006

DJ gatecrashes VIP party

Shinichi Osawa brings house, techno to Yellow

One of the biggest names in Japanese dance music, Mondo Grosso, returns to Club Yellow in Roppongi, Tokyo, on March 3 as a guest DJ for "Cyberjapan presents VIP Club."

News photo
Dance producer and remixer Shinichi Osawa, who records under the name Mondo Grosso, DJs at Club Yellow on March 3

Since 1989, Shinichi Osawa has built a formidable reputation as both a DJ, producer and remixer (credits include Kansai house guru Fantastic Plastic Machine and, of less note, Jamiroquai). Although Mondo Grosso began life as group project, since 1995 Osawa has been the only active member, DJing at clubs around the world including in Ibiza and New York.

Osawa is particularly well-received in South Korea, as he explained in a recent e-mail exchange: "In South Korea, I always DJ at venues that accommodate over 4,000 people. [They] don't have big enough clubs yet, so usually events happen at ballrooms or hotels or convention centers."

While his earlier works have an acid-jazz flavor, since signing to Sony in 2000, Osawa has incorporated uplifting house, breakbeats, techno and bossa nova into his music. The album "Next Wave" (2003) is one of the most accessible dance albums of recent years, and included collaborations with Armand Van Helden and Towa Tei, and a guest spot from American R&B singer Kelis. Osawa has also built a reputation as a producer, most notably with neo-jazz singer Monday Michiru.

Osawa is excited at the prospect of being a member of the "VIP Club." He says: " 'VIP Club' and my label Fearless don't usually share the same bill, but that's why its epoch-making." While Osawa is likely to spin a mixture of vocal house and techno, more than anything he enjoys putting on a show for clubgoers. "Lots of people describe my parties or DJ style as like a rock show. I do consciously play as though I was playing a musical instrument, rather than mixing somebody else's music," Osawa says.

Also on the bill is VIP Club resident Tokoto Mitomi, who runs the Japan Mafia record label and edits Cyberjapan.tv, one of Asia's most popular online club-culture sites. Born in France to a model mother and TV producer father, Mitomi's aim is to bring a more European sound (emphasizing electro over more jazzy grooves) to the Japanese dance scene.

This weekend also sees another regular to Yellow perform in Francois K. The New York-based French legend brings his residency of the weekly Deep Space events at New York club Cielo to Yellow for "Four Seasons of Deep Space" on March 5. Expect Francois K to spin future dub and abstract grooves.

"Cyberjapan presents VIP Club with Shinichi Osawa" starts 10 p.m. on March 3 at Club Yellow, Cesaurus Nishi-Azabu B1-B2, 1-10-11 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Tickets are 3,500 yen at the door (includes one drink). To gain admission for 2,500 yen, present the flyer available at www.cyberjapan.tv at the door.

"Four Seasons of Deep Space" runs 5 p.m.-midnight on March 5 at Club Yellow. Admission is 3,500 yen (including one drink). For more information on both events, visit www.club-yellow.com

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