Max Essa / Aoyama Tunnel Top 10
I could be wrong but I think Aoyama Tunnel is Max Essa`s longest running Tokyo residency. Tucked away behind Aoyama Gakuin University (kind of around the corner from where Loop used to be and Zero now is), it is another of the small venues, with distinctive décor, serious music policy and even more serious Hi-Fi that characterize the night-life of the city. Upstairs is Oath which is the location of Cos / Mes` long running “Some Song Teachers” (about to celebrate its 5th anniversary), and so on the second Friday of every month (this Friday if you are in Tokyo) you can listen to KZA (from Force Of Nature) and Masanori Ikeda and then wander down to catch Max and Jun Kitamura (from Capricious Records). Next door to Oath is a three-story club called Hachi, and on occasion, the doors to all venues are opened and this secluded side street is packed. I was lucky enough to play at Tunnel for the first time a few months ago (I hope not the last, though I did get a bit carried away and ended up buying the bar a drink as I closed with “Blackout”. Again.).
Big thank yous to Max, Jun, Akira, and Tomoko Madparty.
J. Walter Negro & Nicky Tesco / Cost Of Living
Picked up years ago for buttons in a branch of Record & Tape, London. Didn’t know what it was at the time and didn’t really like it once I did. However, I pulled it out towards the end of last year and decided it was worth an outing…I don’t think I’ve ever had as many people come up and ask about a record. Big in Japan.
Ikeda X / Oh My Guitar
An edit of I don’t know what (William Orbit / Rob) by Tokyo legend and Oath regular, Masanori Ikeda. Released on the Cos / Mes run Snaker imprint. Gets played every time at Aoyama Tunnel. One for the trivia fans: Masanori used to DJ at the WAG CLUB many moons ago. A gentlemen and a scholar.
Simphonia / Can’t Get Over Your Love (Dave Lee’s Full Length Mix)
Hardy perennial, Dave Lee in the mix back in the early 90’s. This was on one of my favorite mix tapes at the time but I never picked up a copy until about 2003 when the Japanese girl living above our flat in Finsbury Park moved out and gave me all her records. This was amongst them. Sweet girl.
Richard Tate / She’s Got The Time To Love Me
Bit of a ‘soft banger’ for the 6am crowd. Stirs the blood a little but not so much as to bring all that Jagermeister back into play. Safety first.
Zinc / I’m Living A Life Of Love
This rather exhilarating feel good number also has the BEST rhythm guitar part ever committed to wax. Find it and listen to it immediately.
George K Band / Let`s Move Together
You’re probably under the impression that disco didn’t happen in Norway until Terje bought an ARP, but you’re wrong! This 1977 beauty straight out of Scanax Studios, Oslo is sleaze magic!
Vasco Rossi / Una Splendida Giornata (Versione Orchestrale)
A truly wonderful record recently ‘edited’ by some barbarian…do yourself a favor and save up a few bob for an original.
Fiona Franklyn / Busted Up On Love
This was the first record I played at Aoyama Tunnel and it hasn’t left the playlist since. Anthem!
Sly & Robbie / Get To This Get To That (Dub)
Bill Laswell, Sly & Robbie with Paul ‘Groucho’ Smykle on the mix. Lot’s of dub FX and big snares. I like to pair this off with the Dimitri re-rub of Grace Jones` “Feel Up”.
Itaal Shur presents Milk & Honey / Touch
Beautiful slo-mo thing on Wave Music. An overlooked classic.