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Dumplings By Day, Techno By Night: Meet Tokyo’s 82-Year Old DJ Grandma

Normally, people in the 60-and-above age group are the last people one would think would have even a remote interest in electronic music. However, 82-year old Sumiko Iwamuro of Tokyo, Japan is a huge exemption in this case.

Not only does she have an interest in electronic music, she actually plays such music as a DJ in the DecaBarZ nightclub in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.

Known in the scene as DJ Sumirock, Sumiko performs in said nightclub once a month. Age aside, she is also known for her unique take on techno music, mixing it with unlikely elements such as jazz, French chanson, and even classical music, delighting club-goers the process.

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New Tokyo Club, Contact, Opening Next Month

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One of Tokyo’s iconic clubs, Air, closed last year with one final hurrah on New Year’s Eve. It has now been announced that Global Hearts, the company behind Air, is opening a brand new concept club next month in the city’s area of Shibuya.

The new basement venue, Contact, features a main space, a smaller bar area and will adopt the no-photography policy that has been widely praised in select world clubs such as Berghain/Panorama Bar and Output in New York City.

In an interview with Resident Advisor,  the club’s director Yuko Ichikawa explained the vision behind the new venue. “We’d like to create a space where everyone can easily come and enjoy the music without any concerns. A place where you forget that you even have a mobile phone to ‘take pictures.’ There will be a policy for no cameras/video recordings/etc., but we will hire professional photographers. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind the photographers forgetting to take pictures because they get sucked into the music and the environment,” he said. “There are no resident DJs at the moment. We want Contact to be a venue where young DJs would work hard and be proud to stand inside the DJ booth. A place where the DJs can grow alongside the venue, and eventually call it their ‘home.'”

Contact will launch things off on Friday, April 1st, with Ostgun Ton’s Function on headlining duties. The following two months’ programming alone highlight the impressive focus on quality from the club’s booking perspective, with Francois K, Laurent Garnier, Louie Vega and DJ Nori joining Dekmantel and Giegling showcases to round up the month of April. In May, the club is set to play host to DJ Nobu, efdemin, Erika and Derrick Carter just to name a few.

For full lineup details for April and May, head to the Contact’s club page on RA.

Connect with Contact: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Dubfire to Play Open-to-Close Set at WOMB, Tokyo

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It was another extensive year for Dubfire and the Sci+Tec family, with an array of DJ sets and Hybrid:Live performances around the world, as well as another appearance in the RA Top 100. That said, the year wouldn’t be complete for Dubfire without a stop at one of his favorite clubs in Asia – WOMB, Tokyo. Read more

WOMB presents Dubfire + Richie Hawtin aka Click 2 Click

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WOMB is showing no signs of slowing down in 2015 as they get ready to play host to a rare b2b set by Richie Hawtin and Dubfire with opening support by HITO. All the WOMB lounge will be filled with local hitters making their eclectic selections as Techno rules the main-floor that is expected to last until sunrise. In 2009, the two Techno dons headlined the infamous WOMB Adventure festival which gave life to the Click 2 Click name dubbed by the fans of Japan. The highly anticipated click 2 click showcase will set the pace as WOMB enters its 15th season leading Asia in to the forefront of today’s modern electronic music culture. Click here for more info on the event and ticketing.

D’Julz at Womb, Tokyo

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When it comes to getting the dance floor wild, leave it to non other than French house star D’Julz. To get our Monday started on the right foot here is D’Julz live from one of our favorite Japanese clubs, Womb. He brought the finest blend of house and techno to the clubbers at Womb for quite a journey on Halloween night this year.

The mix starts with classic house pads and atmospheres, and it sets the mood perfectly for the remainder of the mix. After the first track I was hooked. The groove transforms as a single percussive hit changes everything, and moving forward it is a true house music experience. To be honest, quite envious of those who were on the dance floor for this one.

The event was promoted and organized by prominent music group Tresvibes, and included Point G (Live) and many Japanese residents to complete the lineup. Japan is starting to become a focal point for the ever growing house and techno scene in the world, and nights like these show that there is an incredible amount of promise moving into the future.

Human Sized Synth in Tokyo

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Those walking the streets of Tokyo may have stumbled upon a fascinating synthesizer display recently. It would certainly be hard to not catch the eye, considering the synth is about twice as tall as most people. This amazing human sized synth was developed by Daito Manabe and Rhizomatiks in conjunction with Red Bull Music Academy and iconic audio manufacturer, KORG. Take a look at this brief video to see what happened when they took a piece of studio gear and transformed it into an instrument of the public.

 


The human sized synth manages to include many great features that are desirable in any normal sized synth such as a keyboard with arpeggiator, X-Y effects unit (similar to that of KORG’s Kaoss Pad series), and a step sequencer for drum patterns. All the power to make a full track available right in the middle of Tokyo, that’s pretty incredible. Manabe kept the user interface relatively simple to encourage all members of the public to participate, even small children. But at the same time included enough options to allow the synth to function normally, and more knowledgeable audiophiles could manipulate the synth to their liking. Below you can find two diagrams provided by RBMA explaining the layout of the synth and functions.

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schematicsThe top picture illustrates what the user sees on the synth itself, and the picture below that is a visual explanation of the features and signal path. Section 1 is the part of the synth with the various parameters commonly found in most synths such as the sound wave oscillators, filters, and envelope adjustments such as attack, sustain, decay, and release.  Sections 2, 3, and 4 are touch screens on the human sized synth, including the specific features such as: the arpeggiated keyboard, the X-Y effects pad, and the drum sequencer.

Music technology exhibitions such as these are a great way to get the public involved and somewhat informed about the gear and processes that go into making music. The human sized synth displayed in Tokyo did just that, and appeared to have people of all backgrounds experimenting with different sound textures and patterns. Probably not the most practical new piece of gear for a home studio, but maybe people will start getting creative and reinvest some time and interest in analog gear.