We've been enjoying some cool autumn weather in Tokyo lately, but last Friday was a hot summer night at Shibuya WWW where was held the release party for Dorian's "studio vacation". It was my first time at WWW, a live space that opened last year, uniquely reusing a room from a movie theater with it's high ceiling and the leveled floor where used to be the seats. The event also featured (((sssurrounddd))) and Luvraw & BTB.
The first band on stage was (((sssurrounddd))) (officially written (((さらうんど))) in Japanese), formed last year and led by Illreme who is well known artist in the indies hip-hop scene, together with members of Traks Boys, guitarist Kashif (aka StringsBurn) and a female chorist Achiko. This band is rather pop with lots of synths. They are now working on an album to be released around February next year.
Next up was Luvraw & BTB, together with their DJ Mr. Melody, funny MC/dancer Hyuhyu Boy, and again by guitarist Kashif. I have been loving their first album "Yokohama City Blues" and was really happy to get to see them live for the first time. Their latest album is "Hotel Pacifica" out just last month.
The talkbox duo's tracks have a clear 80's influence, with R&B and breakbeats feels. I especially like their tracks that have lagging dub-y beats. Hyuhyu Boy would dance around the stage with a light-up palm tree, sometimes changing hats to keep things fresh. Mr. Melody seemed to often cut tracks a bit short with hip-hop style siren sounds, maybe to fit in as many tracks as possible.
After a break with DJ Yakenohara, who had been playing between the acts, it was finally time for Dorian! I had seen his show a few times before, and this time was also quite along the same lines, the man using mainly his MC-909 to sequence his tracks live, to ally remixing some of them, and occasionally playing his keyboard on the side. There was some awesome VJing by Fantasista Utamaro, who started with footage of Dorian dancing, from his latest clip "Summer Rich", mixed with night city flyovers in the background.
The show went on for about an hour, ending with "Like a wave" (as seen in a recent live clip), and with the nice touch of including "Still Alive" (a song released on DIY Hearts to raise donations) that the audience seemed very familiar with. Then Dorian picked up the mic, explaining that he's not used to speak in front of people, and saying that usually his set would end like this with a DJ picking up the entertainment duties. But since this is a special event, he called singers Nanao Tavito and Yakenohara on stage for "Shooting star" (YouTube) and then "Rollin' Rollin'" (YouTube) with a Hyuhyu Boy intrusion. The latter ended with the track's volume being faded out, and Dorian playing solo keys as I had never seen before.
There was another special guest, female singer Hitomitoi who joined to sing her song "Summer Rich". She had a really beautiful voice. The event was then over with no further encore. On my way out I picked up the "summer vacation EP" 12" that was being sold a bit in advance.
Dorian "Summer Rich feat. Hitomitoi"
Luvraw & BTB, "Hotel Pacifica" album CM
(((sssurrounddd))) "Summer Timer"