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May 2004
Issue 048

KS Classifieds

Classifieds now combined with Kansai Scene.


May 14

A skilled purveyor of fusion for the digital age, multi-instrumentalist Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher, approaches cutting edge electronic styles, specifically drum-n-bass, techno, funk and jungle with the compositional finesse of a jazz veteran. Having collaborated with electro-techno groups such as LFO and Carl Craig, Jenkinson soon began assembling influences of his childhood (such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Art Blakey) into a synthesis of breakbeat techno, post-bop avant-garde and progressive jazz.

While his 1996 remix of DJ Food's "Scratch Yer Head" created interest from various record labels, his friendship with Richard James (aka Aphex Twin) would assure that his debut album, the manic and stunning Feed Me Weird Things, was released on the latter’s Reflex Records. His remaining body of work, up to the recently released and critically acclaimed Ultravisitor (2004), has found its home on the well-known experimental electronic label, Warp (Plaid, Vincent Gallo, Aphex Twin).

Ultravisitor adds dub, new age and even classical elements to the mix, effectively upping the artistic ante and solidifying his status as a groundbreaking artist with a healthy degree of restlessness. Always pushing the envelope with his use of samples (sampling his own bass guitar, random noise as well as ambient backgrounds), and instruments (using vintage keyboards along with live drumming), Jenkinson serves as a mad professor welcoming jazz- and electronica-heads alike to his peculiarly seductive kingdom of anti-pop fusion, chords, beats and breaks.

Mother Hall
22:00 • ¥5800 Tel: 6-6535-5569

Amel Larrieux

May 3 - 5

A regular visitor to Japan, Grammy-nominated neo-soul songbird Amel Larrieux has finally re-emerged, with highly anticipated sophomore album in tow. Those who remember the former Groove Theory singer’s debut Infinite Possibilities, (and its chart-topping single ‘Get Up,’) know that she effortlessly blends a range of genres – R&B, soul, hip-hop, jazz, folk and world, among them – to create something defying easy categorization. Those who caught her live show at Minami’s Quattro two years ago know Larrieux exudes an almost spiritual element with her captivating stage presence, sometimes seeming to go into a trance-like state while letting her lilting vocal improvisations guide her. This sense of exploration makes Amel well-suited for the Blue Note setting, poised between the R&B and jazz performance environments.

With the new album Bravebird, Larrieux continues to captivate, soar and explore with confidence and courage, especially when she addresses the issue of love. The ballad "For Real" pulses with the beat of early Prince, offering a classic, unabashed ode to the human heart. On other songs such as the ethereal "New," acoustic guitars anchor a pop-flavored groove, while "Dear to me" echoes the folk minimalism of Joni Mitchell and Phoebe Snow; backed by the multi-instrumental talents of Amel’s collaborator, husband Laru Larrieux. "I'm not worried about labels," Amel says when asked about her seamless mix of styles. "Some folks need labels for clarity. But the definition of 'black music' itself should be looked at.” As Vibe magazines states, "With talent like Larrieux’s, anything is possible.”

Osaka Blue Note
18:45/21:30 • ¥8000 Tel: 6-6342-7722


May 10

Formed in London in 1990, and described as ‘sublimely sparkling and effervescent’ in a recent review, Stereolab best embodied the ‘bachelor pad music’ sound which swept the U.S. in the mid to late 90s. Often likened to groups such as Velvet Underground and Pizzicato 5, Stereolab (named for a 50s sound recording technique) subtly fuse elements of the avante gard and the conventional to create their signature spaced-out, kaleidoscopic sound. After a series of personnel changes over the years, the band’s recent line up has featured founding members Tim Gane (guitars, keyboards) and Laetitia Sadier (vocals, Moog), Morgane Lhote (keyboards), Andrew Ramsay (drums) and Simon Johns (bass). Long time member Mary Hansen (keyboards, vocals) was tragically killed in a bicycle accident in 2002.

Fans late to discover the iconic, experimental and surprisingly successful indie group often cite 1996’s critically acclaimed album Emperor Tomato Ketchup (titled after a Japanese cult movie) as the corridor through which they arrived. In it could be found techno, acid jazz, lounge, rock, Burt Bacharach and even Marxism, all cleverly and layered into production that confounded, thrilled and sounded nothing like the so-called popular music of the time. True to their underground status, their earlier releases have been on various indie labels (Drag City, Too Pure Records), though they were offered a major label contract in 1993. They formed their own UK label Duophonic that same year and have released much of their music independently.

Dubbed “One of pop’s 50 most influential bands” by Spin magazine, currently they are in Japan promoting the newly released bittersweet and lyrical Margerine Eclipse, (Elektra U.S.). Catching the group live at Osaka’s Quattro will give fans a first hand glimpse at the nonconformist alchemists doing what they do best, which is use their formidable sonic arsenal to create dynamic and thought-provoking pastiches of melody, groove and wonderfully unexpected tangents. Says Gane: “The act of creation is more important than the final thing. The final thing is something that you present, but you can only learn or feel what is enjoyable from the act of doing it on the spot.”

Club Quattro
19:00 • ¥6000 Tel: 6-6535-5569

Live Listings April

Amel Larrieux Osaka Blue Note R&B/Soul 18:45/21:30 ¥8000
Tel: 6-6342-7722
Busted Namba Hatch Rock 19:00 ¥6800 Tel: 6-6362-7301
Supercar Namba Hatch Rock 19:30 ¥4800 Tel: 570-02-9999
The Living End Club Metro Rock/Punk 16:00 ¥5800 Tel: 570-02-9999
The Living End Imp Hall Rock 18:00 ¥5800 Tel: 570-02-9999
Stereolab Club Quattro Alternative 19:00 ¥6000 Tel: 6-6535-5569
Bond Festival Hall Classical/Pop 19:00 ¥7000 Tel: 120-499-699
Bloodthirsty Butchers Club Quattro Rock 19:30 ¥3500
Squarepusher Mother Hall Techno 22:00 ¥5800 Tel: 6-6535-5569
5/14 & 5/15
Harvey Mason Trio w David Grusin Osaka Blue Note Jazz 19:00/21:30 (15th)18:00/20:45 ¥8400 Tel: 6-6342-7722
UA Kyoto Kaikan Daiichi hall Alt. Pop 19:00 ¥5500 Tel: 570-02-9999
The Icarus Line Club Quattro Alt. Rock 18:00 ¥5000 Tel: 6-6281-8181
Kevin Ayers Osaka Bridge Progressive Rock 17:00 ¥6800
Tel: 6-6634-0080
Japan Blues Carnival, (Otis Rush, MavisStaples) Namba Hatch Blues/Soul 19:00 ¥7000 Tel: 6-6362-7301
5/17 & 5/18
The Bad Plus Osaka Blue Note Jazz 19:00/21:30 ¥6300
Tel: 6-6342-7722
Nathalie Stutzmann Izumi Hall Classical Vocalist 19:00 ¥5000/ ¥7000 Tel: 6-6944-1188
5/19 & 5/20
Pet Shop Boys Zepp Osaka Electro/Disco 19:00 ¥7500
Tel: 3-3498-9999
Story Of The Year Club Quattro Punk 19:00 ¥5500 Tel: 6-6281-8181
The Vines Club Quattro Rock 19:00 ¥5500 Tel: 6-6535-5569
S.T.U.N. Club Quattro Punk 18:00 ¥5500 Tel: 6-6281-8181
Don Friedman Trio Osaka Blue Note Jazz 18:00/20:45 ¥7000
Tel: 6-6342-7722
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra Kyoto Concert Hall Classical 14:00 ¥5000- ¥12000
Tel: 6-6453-6000
Jupiter Trio Izumi Hall Classical 19:00 ¥3000 Tel: 6-6944-1188
Gary Burton and Ozone Makoto Kobe Shinbun Matsukata Hall Jazz 18:00 ¥5000
Tel: 120-540-254
Boz Skaggs Osaka Blue Note Pop/Rock 18:45/21:30 ¥12600
Tel: 6-6342-7722
Steve Kimock Band Big Cat Progressive Rock/Jazz 19:00 ¥6000 Tel: 6-6535-5569
Iced Earth Club Quattro Heavy Metal 19:00 ¥6500
Tel: 6-6281-8181
Mary J. Blige (w/ N.E.R.D.) Osaka Jo Hall R&B/ Hip Hop 19:00 ¥8400 Tel: 570-02-9570
Kiss Osaka Jo Hall Rock 19:00 ¥8500/ ¥9000 Tel: 6-6341-4506
Sarah Brightman Osaka Jo Hall Classical/Pop 19:30 ¥9000
Tel: 6-6357-4400
Phillippe Entremont Festival Hall Classical Pianist 19:00 ¥3000- ¥6000 Tel: 6-6231-2221


Up to date cinema listings guide so you always know what's on, where and when!


Festivals, performances, shows, gallery openings...your guide to what's coming up in the next few weeks.


A look at the world of anime and the ground-breaking new release - Appleseed


Zipolite, Mexico
The Beach of The Dead in Oaxaca.


Ohara, Kyoto
Beautiful countryside and ancient temples north of Kyoto


Out of Africa
3 Osaka bars with an African flavour: Freetown, Jungle Africa & Zion.

Bistrot café de Nasca
Tierra Nasca in Kobe reborn!


Some of the news you won't see printed elsewhere, plus the best of the rest.

:: ART

Taro Okamaoto, Victor Cinti, Edo Period Art... plus our round up of other art events in May.


Pretty Cheap
100 Yen DIY tips to brighten up your home or office.


Squarepusher, Amel Larrieux, Stereolab & more incoming live acts...


Space Cowboy, XPress 2 and all the usual hot picks...


The Ladykillers, Big Fish and many more reel reviews...


Dave Pike
An American potter in Nara.