Saturday, April 16, 2011

Charity Chant in Hadano during Golden Week

Selectors, Sound Systems, live entertainment and information on ital living from Ras Daniel himself, ital food and more during Golden Week. Camp spots available for folks who wish to attend all three days. Proceeds to support victims of the March 11th disaster. Yours truly will be bringing new sounds on May 4th. Come down to Hadano for good times and support a good cause!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3/11 Earthquake in Japan

My family and I are safe, I dont have any information yet about anyone in the local reggae scene.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Final Dub Blood @ One Blood and Tokyo scene update

August 14 will be the final Dub Blood @ One Blood. Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the last 18 months and thanks to all our guest selectors and performers as well!

Dub Blood @ One Blood Sound
Roots, Dub, Dubstep, Steppers Music All Night!
Men ¥1500 Women ¥1000 w/ 1D
Ital Food available

One Blood
Ikebukuro 2-12-11

We might move the event, we might just take a break, watch this spot for information.

In other Tokyo reggae news, Killa Sista has transformed. From what I hear the drummer has departed and Ras Dasher who has been their producer will fill in with electronics. Band name is now Lovewise Dubwise, not sure if thats a permanent change. Makiko of Killa Sista/Lovewise Dubwise has also been on a recent 12" with Chazbo of Conscious Sounds fame as well with Ital Horns on the B side.

Orange Street Records, one of Tokyo's premiere reggae music shops recently had their 20th anniversary. Congrats to Sister Yumi and Ras Ume also for their interview in Irie Up magazine out of Germany. Even in this world of the web, Irie Up is worth your cash, support them as well.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Dub Blood @ One Blood July 10

Dub Blood @ One Blood Sound
Roots, Dub, Dubstep, Steppers Music All Night!
Men ¥1500 Women ¥1000 w/ 1D
Ital Food available

One Blood
Ikebukuro 2-12-11

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Dub Blod @ One Blood April 10 with special guest from UK

Dub Blood @ One Blood Sound
Roots, Dub, Dubstep, Steppers Music All Night!
Special Guest Dubstep Selector Simon SubDub UK
Men ¥1500 Women ¥1000 w/ 1D
Ital Food available

One Blood
Ikebukuro 2-12-11

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Dub Blood @ One Blood February 13

Once again, myself, Itak Shaggy Tojo, One Blood Tom and Sister Korin take the controls of the One Blood Sound! As always men are JPY1500, women JPY 1000 for entry with 1 drink included. Ital food available. Doors open 10PM and we play till the sun rises the next morning.

One Blood, Tokyo, Ikebukuro 2-12-11. See map on flier or call 03-3591-7827

Skatalites to play in Japan

The legendary Skatalites with Stranger & Patsy will do a 3 city tour of Japan. The opening band for the Tokyo show will be Tokyo's Ska Flames, credited as the first ska band in Japan. If your pockets are overflowing with Yen its probably a good show to go to. Here is the Japanese page about the show.

new JP dub vinyl from Mystic Inna Warrior

Nice new 7" from Japan's own Mystic Inna Warrior Sound. Digital steppers style "Encourage Riddim"/"Encourage Dub". Seek it out from your favorite seller or delve into the pits of ebay.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Dub Blood Jan 9 Special Guest Rash Kush

Dub Blood @ One Blood first dance of 2010 with special guest Ras Kush from Black Redemption Sound. Entry 2000 Yen with one drink. As always the event is at One Blood, Tokyo, Ikebukuro 2-12-11. See map on flier below or call 03-3591-7827

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dub Blood Final dance for 2009 Saturday 12/12

Calling out to all Tokyo massive! Come to Dub Blood @ One Blood in Ikebukuro for a night of fine entertainment. Bredren ¥1500 Sistren only ¥1000 both get 1 drink with entrance. Fresh ya soul with reggae music from our outernational cast of selectors:

  1. Sister Korin plays early and closeout roots
  2. One Blood Tom brings you the latest dubstep and dubplates
  3. Israel B from Downpressor Records with a full range of roots, dubs, steppers & new sounds, heavy on the FX
  4. Itak Shaggy Tojo of Black Redemption Records dropping heavyweight JA/UK sounds with lyrical stylings
As always the event is at One Blood, Tokyo, Ikebukuro 2-12-11. See map on flier or call 03-3591-7827

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Killa Sister update

Heard last night that Killa Sister is going back into the studio to record new material. Also there are 4 new 10"s out with different dub mixes than on the CD. Look for em at your favorite reggae importer or on the ebays.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dub Blood @ One Blood this Saturday 11/14

Once again its time for Dub Blood @ One Blood! A full night of fun for just ¥1500 for the bredren and ¥1000 for the sistren including one drink! Ital food available at the bar as well. Come hear the finest in roots, dubs, dubsteps and steppers presented by our outernational cast of selectors! Doors open at 10PM and we keep things running till the early morning.

As always the event is at One Blood, Tokyo, Ikebukuro 2-12-11. See map on flier below or call 03-3591-7827

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Analog devices & signaling

When I went back to NYC earlier this year, I got some of my gear from the 80s out of storage. I wish I could say that I had great synths or famous FX and drum machines from that time, but mostly what I found was the cheap stuff I could afford as a youth. If you buy any piece of music gear now you can safely think its going to have some built in sequencing or at least MIDI. In the 80s that just wasnt the case. Pre-MIDI, sequencing was all about voltage control or pulse clocks.

The simplest way to explain a pulse clock is that whenever a clock "tick" occurs, a positive voltage signal is sent from your master clock. Devices which received this signal would move forward one step in their program when a positive voltage was detected on the input. I used to have a Sequential Circuits Pro-One synth which had an internal 16 step sequencer and accepted pulse clock input. I was also lucky enough to have a Roland TR-707 drum machine which would do MIDI and output a pulse clock signal whenever you programmed in a rimshot.

(credit BDU's Flikr stream)

In the photo above, the Pro-One would play a note on beats 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,10,11,13,14,15,16. Since most of the time the down beat is on 1,5,9,13 that would be a very busy synth line even at the slow speed of 63BPM (slower than most roots reggae).

Drum machines generally only had pulse "out", you usually used them as your master clock. If you wanted to sync a drum machine like this to something else you had to do it manually. Even Roland's relatively cheap DR-110 drum machine (the last of their analog drum boxes) has a pulse out. The DR-110 is one of the items from that era that I have and recently I tried to get it to play nicely with some other noisemakers like the Boss PC-2 percussion synth pedal which happens to conveniently have an external input which when it sees a signal it makes sound.

My first attempt is like this:

With the DR-110, every time an accent is programmed in a pattern or if you hit the accent pad while the DR-110 is playing, it sends a positive voltage to the "acc trig out" jack. This signal is enough to make the PC-2 make sound. (Check YouTube for various examples of the PC-2 if you are curious).

Sometime in the last year or so I picked up the Gaken SX-150 Analog Synthesizer kit. Its a very simple synth, but I never really go into using it musically. Recently I remembered that also had an "external source" jack and figured I'd see if it worked as some kind of signal filter or if it was a trigger input. Turns out it is supposed to work as a trigger by doing a voltage to note conversion. I figured I'd try the same trick as above and see what happened.

I patched the trigger out from the DR-110 to the external input of the SX-150 and nothing happened. I tried twiddling with the "balance" and "accent" knobs but still no sound. (On the DR-110, "balance" is like the tone knob on an old tape recorder changing the output from bass to treble, "accent" changes the accent level and does actually change the voltage on the accent out jack.)

Not wanting to give up after seeing people talking about this problem on the web, I figured I'd try a "hotter" signal and rout an auxiliary output from a mixer to the input of the SX-150 like this:

This worked. Sound came out of the SX-150 and changed depending on the level of Aux send fed to it. The result is not very musical but at least its a little something. When I sent it the signal from the DR-110 I get a progression from growl to screech to beep and back. The PC-2 made a growl or a screech depending on how I was twisting the knobs on the PC-2 while I played it. I did try feeding back the Aux send of the SX-150's mixer channel but that just made a nasty screech.

Oh yes, that really is a Radio Shack "Realistic Reverb" from the 80s for that nasty bucket brigade delay sound. Gear fetishists please note, its not worth chasing one of these down, just get the Audio Damage RatShack Reverb plugin instead.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Dub Blood @ One Blood this Saturday 10/10

Ladies & Gentlemen, Friends & Lovers, Bredren & Sistren!

Once again One Blood will proudly host Dub Blood featuring the usual cast of outernational selectors: Sister Korin, One Blood Tom, Israel B/Downpressor and Itak Shaggy Tojo for a night of roots, dubs, steppers and dubstep. 1500 Yen for the men and 1000 Yen for the women gets a full night of entertainment and entry price gets one drink. Club opens at 10PM and we go till sunrise on Sunday.

Come on out to One Blood at Ikebukuro 2-12-11 (see map on flyer)

New Civilization Dub Blood @ One Blood
男¥1500/女¥1000 w/ 1D

Itak Shaggy Tojo
2007年1月に、Wackiesより1stフルアルバムがリリースされる。2008年5月、Alpha Enterprizeより自身produceのroots&dubアルバムSUDDEN DESTRUCTIONがリリースされる。Black Redemption Soundの1員として、主に同レーベルのvinylリリースに参加。又、日本の最重要 new roots & dubのproducer Mighty Massaとのコラボワークは特にヨーロッパで高い評価を受けている。 自身の打ち込みによる楽曲も、UKでAbba Shanti I,King Earthquake等のSystemでDub plateとしてplayされている。

Downpressor/Israel B
NY出身のダブプロデューサー。ジャマイカのルーツとUKのニュールーツの流れをくむ、渋くて深みのある独自のヘビーダブをクリエイトしている。80年代のUSでスタジオの音響技術者として仕事を始める。 複数のレコード会社でのレコーディングのほか、パンクバンドのダブミックス、NYのクラブDJ向けリミックス等、制作プロデューサーとしての経験は多岐にわたる。最近のリリースは2007年のSevens Dub Four、Trinityのボーカルをフィーチャーした2008年Jah Fire。

One Blood
今年で、オープンより16年を迎える老舗。特に、2007年の店内大幅改装で、それまでのbar形態から、より音を追求したclub形態の営業に移行して、Al Campbell,Horace Andy,Trinity,Luckie D,Determine,Tony Curtis,Robert Lee.Josey Wales,U Brown,Johnny P等、来日Jaアーティストのshowを行うなど、東京クラブシーンで、常に注目されている。池袋の繁華街で、稀有な路面店として、重低音を鳴らしているこの箱は、artistととの距離感の近い、音の良い小箱として、国境を越えて、多くの音好きがおとずれている。店内の内装は、木目の壁に、ヴィンテージのポスターや、多数のドーナツ盤が飾られ、広く取られたバーカウンターは、落ち着いて心地よい。フロアーには、それぞれをラスタ色に塗り分けた、3箱のローボックスを中心に組んだSOUND SYSTEMがおかれている。、DJブース前のレゲエミュージシャンの肖像画は、全て、手描きで、以前、店外の外装であったものを何とか移動させたもので、この店のレゲエクラブとしての歴史と思い入れの深さを、感じる事が出来る。毎月第2土曜のレギュラーダンス 、Dub blood@One Blood では、この箱のマスター、TOMもセレクターとしてプレイし、レゲエに造詣の深い彼の、レゲエというフィルターを通した、レゲエの枠を超えたダビーな選曲は、その知識のない人を踊らせ、その知識のある人を頷かせる。そして、JAMAICA 70’後期から80’初期のロッカーズサウンドを主に組み立てられるSIS.KORINのセレクトには、どこかで耳にした事のあるフレーズが満載で、その心地よさの中に時々牙をむく、彼女ならではのDUB音感覚が、そのセンスの良さを際立たせている。

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Google Maps politricks or just an error?

This post is not about reggae, but I need to say this somewhere.

Here's the story, on September 22 I'm talking to a friend and he is trying to tell me where a city in Israel is located. I take out my iPod Touch and do a Google Maps search for Israel. The entire country is blank except for areas marked Gaza and West Bank. I try zooming in to see if thats the problem but no, all the surrounding areas have city names clearly marked, but nothing in Israel. When I got home I tried the same thing and got the same results but this time I took pictures with my camera. See for yourself:

I dont know if someone somewhere is playing politricks or if this was a system error, but this is wrong. I dont get the same result from or, only when using the google maps app on my iPod Touch.

Update 1: This same thing happened to an iPhone user in Texas, USA and is also confirmed by another Japanese iPhone user.

Labels: , ,

Friday, September 18, 2009

5770 starts this friday night

A new year is almost upon us! By the Hebrew calendar, the year 5770 starts this friday night. If you read up your Bible you will see that the new year starts on the month of Tishrei and since months are calculated by the moon, Tishrei starts Friday night. Why friday night and not Saturday? Again, its in your Bible, check the start of Genesis "and there was evening and there was morning, a new day".

Here's wishing you a year full of livity and blessings!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Next dance 8/8 @ 池袋 One Blood

Men男性 ¥1500 women女性 ¥1000 w/1 drink

Sister Korin - roots rockers
Tom - dubstep steppers
Israel B/Downpressor - new roots steppers dubwise
Itak Shaggy Tojo - roots hard steppers pon de mic sound system styles

One Blood is at Ikebukuro 2-12-11 close to the west exit of Ikebukuro station.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Killa Sista debut CD is out

Japan's all girl dub band Killa Sista just released their debut CD on Far East Records and its HARD! The liner notes are full of praises from Mad Professor, Adrian Sherwood, Mark Iration, Chazbo, Mighty Massa and more. Its not available outside Japan officially but get your hands on this one. This is probably going to be the best reggae to come out of Japan in 2009.

Amazon Japan order page for the CD is here and they will ship outside of Japan.

See also (all in Japanese though)

Check "Legal Pirates" on Shibuya FM July 13

I'll be guesting on Shibuya FM's Legal Pirates reggae show on July 13 between 24:00 and 1AM with Double H. Tune your FM dial to 78.4MHz to enjoy. I promise at least one unreleased cut for your listening enjoyment!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Next Dance July 11 Dub Blood @ One Blood

All night roots, new roots, steppers and dubs just ¥1500! Ladies free before midnight!
All star selector lineup: Sister Korin, Tom, Downpressor, Itak Shaggy Tojo
One Blood is at Ikebukuro 2-12-11 close to the west exit of Ikebukuro station.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Downpressor picked for Japanzine Top 10 Foreign artists

Big respect to the staff at Japanzine for featuring me in the 2009 selection of foreign artists in Japan. If you live here, check the June issue, its free. In Japan or not check and grab up a free copy of my track "Cold War 2 Dub"

See you saturday night for Dub Blood @ One Blood in Ikebukuro

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Civilization Dub Blood @ One Blood now monthly!

Like the title says, Shaggy Tojo and Downpressor are happy to say that New Civilization is now a monthly event. We come out every second saturday at One Blood with guest selectors and live artists for a full night of fun! As always, 1,500 Yen gets you in and gets you one drink and a night of roots, rockers, dubs and steppers.

One Blood is at 2-12-11 Ikebukuro

Thursday, January 22, 2009

If not now when?

If this isnt the greatest time to learn to produce dub I dont know when is. There is just so much new stuff out there in the way of hardware controllers to simulate a mixing desk on your PC, 

so many decent free or affordable good sounding delays and reverbs 

and digital audio workstation software is either free or cheaper than its ever been. The market for selling music may be dieing thanks to all the freeloaders and thieves, but the chances to make music are better than ever!

Also, I'm now regularly selecting with Itak Shaggy Tojo at the New Civilization event at Tokyo's One Blood in Ikebukuro every 5th Saturday. Next event is January 31

One Blood is at Ikebukuro 2-12-11 (Google Map)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

long overdue

6 months or so but I've been busy. Here's some news from the Eastern Front
  • Shaggy Itak Tojo put out three records on the Pirka Atuy label. Good luck finding them.
  • Jacques Golub of Kingston Connexion started up a new venture Tokyo Connexion and release a fine 7" by Riddim Conference. Well worth you money. Nuff respect to Jaques and all the European bredren and sistren keeping the true fires burning!
I been selecting sometimes with Shaggy Tojo at a monthly event in Ikebukuro. Next one is end of January as my overstanding. I dont play the secrets game, you want to know the records I play, ask and knowledge will be yours.

Whether in the studio or in the booth, the Kaoss tools from Korg are a blessing! Love my Kaoss Pad 3, mini KP and Kaossilator. Wish I had more of em and more hands to tweak the sounds.

More tool talk: when I was a youth my drum machine was a Roland TR-707 bought from a pawn shop for whatever money I had. Large LCD for step programming, individual outs for each sound, built in mixer and many options for time control. Back in those days, many things still didnt have MIDI so the 707 offered control voltage out synced to the rims shot. As a youth I used this to drive the built in 16 step sequencer of my Pro One synth.

Over the years and before I moved to Japan I sold off all my gear. Good bye to all the old mixers, effects, synths and riddim boxes. Fast forward to the 21st century and I got a big bag of regret for doing that. So a few years ago I picked up a 707 on auction. Now thats my master clock for other drum boxes and once again the analog features come to the rescue. I got lucky enough to find an old Boss PC-2 and once again having Control Voltage clocking comes in Handy!

One of these days I'll figure out a way to diagram my rig of hardware and post it up here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tagged: Seven Songs

responding to John Eden's Tagged: Seven Songs 

1 Matisyahu - Jerusalem
So I'm a little late to this party, when I first heard Matisyahu a year or two back all I could say was "meh". Now I come to check his sound and find some enjoyable bits. Pure reggae its not but its something a bit different and Jerusalem is some nice reggae influenced pop with good work from Sly & Robbie and Bill Laswell producing. 

2 Glen Adams - Jordan River
Just acquired this 7". Heavy heavy rockers sound versioning a track we all know and love. B side riddim keeps the woofer moving.

3 Bush Chemists - Rain and Thunder
Found this riddim on the b side of some recent 7"s out of France, nice work by Dougie & crew, looking forward to running this one inna dance.

4 Dr. Israel - Armageddon Time
One of my favorite riddims done up jungle/DnB style. Sure its almost a golden oldie by now but I like it on headphones while I navigate the crowds.

5 Little Roy - Piece of The Earth
Coming from the out of print "Longtime" album, not the Adrian Sherwood DnB version by the same name/source. Bassline of this one keeps me moving but the mix sounds really dated, the intro synths just make me imagine some flock of seagulls hairdo keytard. Still how can you argue with the lyric "Every man wants a piece of the earth but no man wants peace on the earth"!

6 Sister Beloved - Freedom of the Land
As I understand, first record produced by Jah Shaka's son Young Warrior. Bought it cuz its a good UK digital cut, not for the famed bloodline, tho its nice to see Young Warrior and Joe Ariwa carrying on through the generations.

7 Agony Column - Rain Comes Down
One of my all time favorite tracks from a band I saw more times than I can count. Agony Colum was Texas's own Hellbilly Deathmetal Onslaught and boy howdy did they rock! This wasnt their fastest or most popular track but I always enjoyed hearing it live. Big ol howdy goin out to Richie, Crow, Stuart & Charlie wherever you guys are now!

passing the baton to:

It aint seven and none of em are in the reggae space, lets see how that goes.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mute Beat One Night Live

On April 2, 2008, Mute Beat performed a one night only reunion gig at Liquid Room in Tokyo. Even though the show was sold out the minute tickets went on sale, I managed to get in to see the show.

The first time I heard Mute Beat was in 1990. I was in Tower Records at 4th & Broadway and saw a cassette with a trumpet over a red circle called "Mute Beat in Dub". The sign said something about that this was a Japanese dub reggae band. I couldnt believe the idea. All we knew about Japanese music was YMO. I still remember walking up Broadway with that tape in my Walkman and being blown away by the sounds I heard.

Who were these guys? I didnt know how to say the names except for Dub Master X (what a cool name that was) and I couldnt find any information about the band except what was written in the tape insert. I wore out three copies of that cassette listening to it over the years. The year before I came to Japan the album was released on CD. Of course since I came here I've found all their releases but I still listen to "Mute Beat in Dub" regularly.

Of course I dreamed of seeing this band, but by the time I moved to Japan they had broken up. Tonight one of my dreams became reality (big up to the man who made that happen, you know who you are). The band was in great form! Matsunaga-san's bass shook the ground, Gota-san's drumming was tight, Kodama-san & Masui-san's horns blew down the walls of Jericho, Asamoto-san's keyboards kept the skank and DMX's mix glued it all together.

I waited 18 years for this show. It was worth the wait. Thank you Mute Beat!


05. TAKE 5 (DUB NO.5)




intro and part of Metro

Monday, March 03, 2008

On-U Sound in Japanese magazine 1992

Remix is one of the longest running Japanese non mainstream music magazines, this issue is from April of 92 (issue #12) and had a 5 page feature on On-U Sound as part of tour support promotion. I'm pretty sure Spin Records (later Alpha Records, no longer in business) only got this much coverage because they bought a full color back cover ad. Thats how media coverage goes here.

Two things about these scans, the magazine is read right to left, I've scanned the pages individually but for Western readers the alighment and page numbers may look off. Also most Japanese magazines are not printed full color. Most inside pages are black and white. Only 7 of 128 pages are printed in color in this issue. Unfortunately they chose to make one of those a picture of Courtney Love rather than any of the On-U pages. Oh well.

P25-29 (click for larger view)

Back Cover

Notes on the back cover: Three of the four albums shown here were Japan only releases with the exception of Stoned Immaculate, but as was common at the time the Japanese release of that got a bonus track. "Pay It All Back Live" (top left) is the live recordings from Town & Country in the UK. Acording to this really was a Japan only release. "Snakeman Show in the 90's" was Adrian Sherwood mixing 3 tracks for a Japanese radio show. "S.E.T. in the 90s" is more Sherwood remixology.

The door prices for the tour were 5,500 advance, 6,000 at door. Oddly enough thats about what it costs to see any one of these acts now when they come here 16 years later. Shibuya On Air is still around, dont know about W'ohol in Osaka.

Sorry but I just dont have the energy to translate the 5 page article.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Club Yellow of Tokyo is closing

After 16 years of hosting local and overseas DJs, live acts and more, Spacelab Yellow is closing its doors on June 21. Though I'm not a fan of the club itself, its a loss for Tokyo since thats one less venue for reggae, dub, D&B, techno, etc. Clubs come and go, few stay around for this long though.

For the most part, I only go to smaller bars and clubs because entry prices for events at Yellow or Liquid Room tend to be over 4,000 Yen. Double that so I can take the wife, add in some drinks and transportation and a night out to see a band becomes an expense item. Only went to Yellow once to see Adrian Sherwood, planning to go once more to see Zion Train in April. Not really fond of the place because they oversell tickets and it gets too crowded to dance or have fun. Liquid Room is a better space and Unit is more fun anyways. For a good local night theres Open or Garam or One Blood. Even with plenty of choices left, its too bad when one is removed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

new record "Jah Fire" Trinity & Downpressor

Hot biscuits from the oven, fresh from the presses, "Jah Fire" voiced by the one and only Trinity AKA Junior Brammer, dub by Tokyo's own Downpressor!

Its a bass heavy outing in a Satta style, Trinity puts in a sing-jay performance on the A side, the B side is a smooth echotronic voyage.

Now available in Japan, soon in UK and US, worldwide when they get there.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Populous Cast

Man here in Tokyo, kind enough to feature me in his podcast, check it at

Have a taste of Step By Steppers, my dub mix of Tear Drop and an unreleased track The Call on the ever popular Stalag riddim.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Next record coming soon

Master data for next downpressor production on its way to the pressing plant. more traditional thing with a roots vocalist you know and dub mix. iTunes will get an extra version extended mix which was actually the original version.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Downpressor "Sevens Dub Four" & "Step By Steppers" now on iTunes worldwide, vinyl still avilable

Finally, iTunes has gone outernational for me

Sevens Dub Four on iTunes
Step By Steppers on iTunes

Vinyl still available at
Tanty Dub Shop
Jah Warrior
Ernie B's Reggae

as well as other fine stores

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Big up Shaggy Tojo

Word has it that the Shaggy Tojo produced Earl 16 track "Jah Messenger" (see Sudden Destruction post below) was recently played by the man Jah Shaka himself. Nice that Japanese reggae can be known a foreign for something more than Junko the dancehall queen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dubsensemania -> Dubsentimental?

I heard a little story. Dubsensemania, a Japanese reggae band started out indie, played lots of gigs, built a local following and eventually got signed to Sony Records for a two year contract. Sometime recently that contract ran out. The band is no more, but some members still play together as Dubsentimental.

Nothing exciting there. Theres a bit more to it though. The CDs released by Dubsensemania while signed to Sony were all Copy Control CDs, meaning they wouldnt play in anyone's computer and possibly their car stereo, etc. I dont have numbers to back it up, but no one I know bought those CDs, even fans of the band. The other thing about those CDs is the music did not sound like what the band sounded like live or like their previous studio work. DSM was a very fun live band, but these CDs were .... popish? mainstream j-rock sounding? boring? Talk is also that Sony wanted them to cover some old popular j-pop songs "inna reggae style".

The other bit that may come as a surprise is that being signed to a Japanese major label means the band goes on salary. Contracts here are not built around "X albums in Y" years, but "Band members recieve a monthly salary of Z Yen per month and will damn well do as they are told." Knowing what I know about Sony Music, the company probably owned the band name, merchandising rights and promotional rights as well. As weird as this may sound, for some musicians this can be a good deal. I know a few studio musicians who work for Sony Music as musical salarymen. Everyday they go in and play what they are told to and get enough of a paycheck to feed their families. Lots of studio guys I knew back home would have given their eye teeth for a reliable job like that and for most factory style cookie cutter j-pop the system works. Sell just enough CDs, do the promotional events, commercials and promotion events you are told to and you get a salary.

Evidently this wasnt quite the case with DSM. Some band members supposedly didnt want to keep on without Sony's monthly check, possibly the band no longer owned its name, so as I understand things, most members are working on solo careers or playing together sometimes as Dubsentimental. Have not seen them play lately, cant say how they sound now.

Somewhere I have some video of DSM recording at Ariwa Studio with the Mad Professor himself.

Anyways, wherever the band members are now, I wish them the best. Japan needs live reggae not more children screaming on a mic over backing tapes and calling themselves a soundsystem.

FWIW, all of the above is based on hearsay, take it all with a grain of salt, it might all be wrong.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Did a dub mix for Pole Pole Taxi Soundsystem, might come out on CD next year

Someone asked me to contribute to a compilation CD sponsored by a hamburger place down Yokohama way. The theme is "hamburgers and dub". Never heard of such a thing, but I'm all for promoting the local scene so I'll do that. With any luck it will be available outside Japan as well.

Have not mentioned it yet, but Ras Itak AKA Shaggy Tojo has produced an outernational CD collection "Sudden Destruction" with contributions from Japan's own Mighty Massa and vocalists from UK & JA and work from NYC also.

See list of artists etc here Page in Japanese, but artist list in english. There are a couple of 7"s to go with it, but they are VERY limited.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

some japanese music

El Riddim Conference

One mand act recording some nice demos. Not much information to say other than I got the demo CD at Drum Song in Shimokitazawa.

Check the sounds at

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The word is really popular with j-reggae fans. Most of the kids I've talked to dont really know what it means but they know its a curse word. Thank kind of explains why its popular, there really are no curse words in japanese beyond "poop" and "stupid". It feels good to curse sometimes!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

big up Revolution Reggae Podcast

Thanks for playing my tune "step by steppers"