Saturday 26 April 2014


As juke continues to take over the world like the pungent smell of a freshly opened can of peach halves (gotta love em) or anything else fresh 'n' packaged that has literally just been opened, we are being taken along with it like a carpet ride in aromatic clouds. I mean you can call it ghetto house or footwork or whatever, but it is what it is and what it is is a fresh sound.

I once heard DJ legend Annie Nightingale talking about how pop music is always inflected with a particular overriding rhythm of the time – what you could call a kind of zeitgeistical beat I guess, like house, hip hop, drum & bass, garage/2-step, dubstep: all have had, are still or currently having, their allotted influence on the sphere of widely known pop music and now it is certainly set to happen with juke. It's still an underground sound, but these things end up surfacing some time or another and well, it could well be happening soon. I wish I could find the direct Annie Nightingale quote, but... alas and alack it ain't nowhere.

So it is with this that I introduce the heady bassosity and rhythmic delirium of Tokyo's very own Carpainter and his track 'Frozen Sky'. Ironically, this quite hard dance song comes from a place where a no dancing law is strictly enforced – establishments must have licenses to allow this very simple act.

Ridiculous and weird, yet it hasn't stopped dance music producers making music to dance to. The Yokohama-based Carpainter, taking his name I guess from Mr. Carpainter, the leader of "the Happy Happyist" cult in the game EarthBound, mixes a ghetto house rhythm with the syncopated intricacy of garage, percussion urgent and insectoid, introducing frenetic bleeping melodies that play their craziness over whirling stabs of synth chords heavy on the phaser – at other times, the chords play continuously, icy and textured, before dropping into these footwork-flavoured moments where the snare seems to be battling the very air for space.

This clearly-made-for-dancing track comes from a recent compilation, Trekkie Trax Japan Vol. 1 – curated by TREKKIE TRAX, a Tokyo netlabel run by Futatsuki, Andrew/Eiji Ando, DJ Bank, Saba (aka MSTNG), and brothers Seimei & Taimei Kawai (Carpainter himself) – released & promoted via Top Billin – the guys who "discovered and introduced" Club Cheval to the rest of the world. Label boss Semiei had these words to say in the description of the compilation: "In all honesty, club scene in Japan is getting worse, we think, cause of the strict enforcement of the 'no dance law'. So the circumstances ironically motivate us to try to improve Japanese scene with our music." And by spreading it across the world, countries where no laws impede any footwork of any kind will open up to Japanese musicmakers, feel their awesomeness, and help bridge the (to many) daunting gap between West and East in the music world.

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Check TREKKIE TRAX on SoundCloud

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