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Friday, May 1, 2009

Watch out, Beedle's about


Staff writer

One big difference between dance music and rock is the way enthusiasts select what to listen to: While rock fans tend to listen to full albums, dance-music types generally listen to a single song by an anonymous artist or compilations put together in a continuous mix by superstar DJs.

News photo
Ashley Beedle

One such artist is Ashley Beedle, who has managed to avoid the limelight while producing a series of hits under different names and working on various collaborations. Most famous for his work in Black Science Orchestra and X-Press 2, Beedle has been a DJ and producer since the dawn of acid house in the late 1980s and early '90s.

Since then, he has released a steady stream of tunes that join the dots between house, reggae, soul, jazz and quality disco. It is no coincidence that someone with such a musically diverse sound is reputed to have introduced house music to the Notting Hill Carnival in London — Europe's biggest annual street festival, with an attendance in the millions.

As a DJ, Beedle built his reputation in the mid-'90s as a member of X-Press 2, the three-piece collective in which he and group members Rocky and Diesel would perform sets with six turntables on stage — though it is unlikely that all were being used. In 2002, Beedle also achieved his biggest hit to date, "Lazy," in a collaboration between X-Press 2 and Talking Heads' David Byrne.

Beedle has recently worked with reggae star Horace Andy — the vocalist on Massive Attack's version of The Doors' "Light My Fire" — effectively refusing to be pigeonholed as a house DJ. So, if you head down to Beedle's Japan gig, expect a night of soulful British house and disco with distinct shades of the jazzier sets of DJs such as Gilles Peterson rather than those of Japanese house DJs such as Emma and Ko Kimura.

"Ashley Beedle (House Legend)" will be held at Unit in Daikanyama, Tokyo, on May 9 (11:30 p.m.-late; ¥4,000; www.unit-tokyo.com).


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