During my backpacking trip to the Capybara Zoo of Japan, I spent an entire night dancing at Carpainter’s Future Legacy Tour held at Planet Cafe in Hamamatsu. I had previously attended the album’s original release party at Contact Tokyo in December, but I wanted to travel here so I could experience the music scene in Shizuoka in addition to seeing him perform at a rare venue. This particular event was not only a release party, but it was also combined with EFEKT’s 7th Anniversary. In this article I will be reporting my experience at Planet Cafe and also talking about Carpainter’s latest releases: Future Legacy and Super Dance Tools Vol. 1.
Planet Cafe & EFEKT
Planet Cafe is one of the most famous music venues of Shizuoka located in the populous city of Hamamatsu. Unlike its name implies, it has the atmosphere of an underground club instead of a cafe. It’s divided into two rooms with one bar and one DJ booth, making it easy to listen to music and socialize with people. I found it to be much more laidback than the typical clubs in the Tokyo scene. The entrance fee was only 2500 yen and well worth the price for the quality of music. The party lasted from 9pm – 5am so it was quite a long time—almost the duration of a music festival! There was never a dull moment in the club because the music selection of all the artists was carefully chosen.
EFEKT is an “all style bass sound music” party routinely held by a group of Shizuoka-based DJs at Planet Cafe. In addition to bass music, you can except to hear a lot of nonstop dance tracks with techno and disco influences here. At this party in particular, I heard a lot of fire UK Garage tracks which really made me happy. In addition to Carpainter, they have featured artists such as Licaxxx, submerse, and Chimpo at their previous events at Planet Cafe making the lineup more diverse each time.
Resident DJs: MASKAT, SADA, SUGURU, SINYA (see the EFEKT Twitter for more information).
You can hear a sample mix by MASKAT here:
223-1 Motoshirocho, Naka Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 430-0946
Future Legacy Release Party in Hamamatsu
Future Legacy is Carpainter’s 3rd official album defined as “The Japanese Techno Revival”. Its 14 tracks are reminiscent to old school techno and breakbeat music with a bit of house music effects as well. A recent DOMMUNE article mentions that Carpainter used rich and melodious synthetic sounds in the album’s production influenced by Detroit techno similar to his Orient EP. Future Legacy also features the usage of female vocals for the first time in the track O.V.E.R. ft. Utae. The album fuses old techno sounds with Carpainter’s own unique style making it one of the best nonstop dance releases I’ve heard in quite a long time. I’ve enjoyed keeping up with the album’s production and would rate it quite high in terms of originality.
The album’s first track Re Genesis starts with a slow and simple build that immediately draws you in. He used this track to open his set at Planet Cafe and it instantly got the crowd excited. My personal favorites from this album are “Tiger & Dragon”, “Chaos or Order”, and “Declare Victory”. A big theme of this album is the balance between looping sounds and inserting cuts and breaks to keep the dance spirit alive. Each song has a unique way of doing this so it’s something you’ll want to keep on repeat for a while! The album ends with the previously mentioned uplifting dance track O.V.E.R. that was originally premiered at Trekkie Trax’s 7th Anniversary. It truly is a treasure of Japan and is available worldwide:
I arrived to Planet Cafe around 11pm which gave me the perfect amount of time to drink and socialize before seeing the special guest performers. The club attendees were a mostly a mix of Shizuoka locals and people who had traveled from Tokyo to see the event (like myself). Though I was the only foreigner, I found it very easy to talk to people here. The number of people that attended this was similar to the Carpainter event at Outer Kochi last year, so overall it was a good crowd and there was lots of room to dance.
Carpainter played a 90 minute set that consisted of a wide range of music including records with songs he grew up hearing in the Netherlands with his brother Seimei. In addition to tracks from Future Legacy, he also played his previous bangers like PAM!!! and mixed it into an old style of techno music. It was really fun to watch the crowd’s reaction because no one knew what song was coming next. My personal favorite was this creative slip-in of “Mr. Roboto” towards the end:
In addition to Carpainter, isagen, a Shizuoka-based DJ and producer was also featured as a special guest in the lineup. I have previously written about isagen in my LARGE SIZE article last year, but he has really grown as a skilled DJ since my last article. In his set at Planet Cafe he played songs from his cgab release on Trekkie Trax as well as tracks I didn’t recognize (which I assume will be part of a future release).
Recently isagen has been featured on THREE THE HARDWARE, which is a unique video project started by tofubeats that demonstrates the production of DTM (desktop music) made with second hand equipment. A recent video called THIS IS UK STUDIO explores some of the sound effects that isagen and other featured artists have made through experimentation. This project is inspirational because it shows that you can make virtually any sound on your hardware with the right technique:
My clubbing experience in Hamamatsu was unforgettable and I hope to come back here in the future to listen to new types of music!
Super Dance Tools Vol. 1
Super Dance Tools (Vol. 1) is the latest release by Carpainter which contains 17 tracks over 5 minutes designed to be used as “tools” for DJs. The loops with the combination of acid techno and hard techno sounds make it an addictive dance album by itself, but it sounds even better when the songs are skillfully transitioned into other songs during sets. The album has gained international praise by artists such as Anna Lunoe, and the songs have been featured on London radio shows such as NTS.
You can listen to a preview of the album below:
A great example of Super Dance Tools being utilized is in this video of Addison Groove’s Getterfunk Takeover set where “B-Reverse” is played:
My top picks on this album are “Supernova” and “Drifting” because they have a nice build that makes me want to loop them on repeat for hours, but “1994” comes as an unexpected surprise because it ends the album on a mellow note. I hope to see more artists use these tools to create unique sounds, and anticipate the possibility of more volumes in the future.
Carpainter will always be one of my favorite artists in Japan because he has introduced me to so many styles of music through his DJ sets. Despite being from Michigan, I had no idea what Detroit Techno sounded like until I heard him describe it in his interviews as a major influence of songs he produced for Orient and Declare Victory. The people that I’ve met through his events continually inspire me to listen to new music and travel around Japan to experience it in different places. I am excited to see what direction his music takes him in the future and hope that someday he fulfills his dream of debuting in the UK. If that happens, I will definitely be looking more into the UK music scene as well!
For more information, please see:
- Trekkie Trax’s Website (with a full list of music releases)
- Carpainter’s Twitter (with future event information)
- My other articles featuring Carpainter: LARGE SIZE, Outer Kochi, Takasaki WOAL, and Orient
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