7 Aug 1997

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Mo'Wax Japan Launch Party
DJ Set concert by James Lavelle, Nigo, DJ Shadow, Lateef and Lyrics Born
LocationTokyo, Japan

The Mo'Wax Japan Launch Party was held at Blue in Tokyo, Japan in August 1997. MTV report it was on the 6th of August, while Mo'Wax Japan report it was held on the 7th. It is possible there were two parties, or that the date discrepancy is due to time zone differences.


"What began too late, ended too early for fans of DJ Shadow.

The setting: A club known simply as "Blue," located in the basement of a building in Tokyo's chic Aoyama district. At Blue, there is no sign on the door, but once you enter, you are in a world where low-key soft light ambiance meets all-night acid jazz blowouts. Blue is where the "cool people" hang out.

In attendance: An invitation-only audience of industry insiders, underground hipsters and the media.

The occasion: The Aug. 6 launch of Mo'Wax Japan, a partnership between the cutting-edge British label that caused a stir last year with its release of DJ Shadow's sampling manifesto, Endtroducing....., and the Japanese label Toy's Factory. The two labels were throwing a party last Wednesday to kick off what they describe as a unique relationship, in which they will be working together in a form of cross-pollination to develop a larger stable of Mo'Wax artists, ultimately trying to create a unique identity for Mo'Wax Japan.

The goodies: Forget about the free food and drinks, in the house was none other than DJ Shadow himself, flown to Japan as a gesture of the importance which Toy's Factory places on its relationship with the Mo'Wax crew. Or was he?

While Mo'Wax label head James Lavelle (who records under the nom-de-remixer U.N.K.L.E.) was on hand to spin some of his favorite tunes, the buzz throughout the evening focused on the whereabouts of DJ Shadow. No one seemed to know when or where he was going to show up. In fact, he didn't appear behind the turntables until the latter part of Lavelle's hour-long set, keeping the audience in suspense. By the time the headphones were finally passed from the Mo'Wax label visionary to the most noted artist in the Mo'Wax crew, the audience that had packed the small dance floor were bursting with anticipation.

DJ Shadows' friends, rappers Lateef and Lyrics Born, also known as Latyrix, were little consolation. It appeared that the mostly Japanese audience was struggling to relate to one-on-one-in-yo-face-phat-lickety-split-top-of-the-dome-free-associating of the two Oakland rappers who likewise appeared a little frustrated at their inability to get the audience to respond. Nevertheless, despite being confined to a tiny stage in front of the DJ booth, they displayed no lack of energy and enthusiasm in dropping the dope rhymes over the "wheels of steel" beats and scratches of DJ Shadow.

When he finally appeared, DJ Shadow began his set with a 20-minute free-style old-school jam session with Latyrix. DJ Shadow then played solo for about 40 minutes, treating the audience to lengthy re-interpretations of some of his more involved sample-driven hip-hop compositions, including "Midnight in A Perfect World" and "Lost and Found (S.F.L.)." Baseball cap planted squarely on his head, DJ Shadow's face was one of calm concentration for his entire performance -- it was impossible to tell whether he was enjoying himself. He didn't even seem to notice that most in the packed room were dancing along with his tunes.

DJ Shadow finally managed a smile at the end of his brief set, grabbing a microphone and thanking the audience. Not satisfied to end it there, he responded to calls for "one more" by spinning DJ Krush's "Meiso," offering a subtle tip of the hat to the first Japanese artist to have been released by Mo'Wax, with whom DJ Shadow occasionally collaborates live and in the studio.

The house lights came on. And just as things were getting started, it was over."[1]

Japanese Review

The following review was translated from Japanese by Google Translate

"Around August 7, at Aoyama BLUE, a party was held to commemorate the release of the Japanese version of Mo · Wax. James Ravel, Takagi Tsuyoshi, Nigo, DJ Shadow, TASAKA, Kurihara Da. A poster featuring 3D artwork that also became a jacket of "Heads" was pasted in the hall, interview video of Mo · wax artists was screened on the sub-floor, Aoyama BLUE was completely in the world of mo wax It was transformed into. The venue at 10 o'clock is already full at 11 o'clock. The floor was boiling in over 400 people. People who did not dance together on the same floor, such as hip-hop fans, techno fans, and APE fans, were gathered only by Moh Wax, which may have been the best harvest unknown.

The main floor was a baton touch from Nigo to Takagi Takagi, when James Ravel's next DJ, Takagi took a microphone and showed MC, and DJ Shadow appeared as a live set instead of a DJ. Both Lyrics Bourne and Latif also appeared as MC, and the population density of the floor reached the highest. These two MCs are artists based in San Francisco label "Soul Size", and DJ Shadow is also involved in the label. DJ Shadow played the song in "end toro deusing" live after showing off the rap songs. "Midnight in a perfect world", and the best is "live version of" organ donor ". Even if it says live, DJ shadow cuts various sounds from the sampler and the turntable into a simple sequence, but the floor was very exciting. Although it is such a downer song. After DJ Shadow's tremendous excitement, James Ravel again appeared. And finally TASAKA 's DJ gave me a splendid party.

On the sub floor, CD sales and DJ of astringent song selection by Daisuke Kurihara and TASAKA also gave us a new way of enjoying hip hop that is not American imitations. Then those who came to the crowd on the day, I really am sorry. When I do the next time, I am planning to do it at the venue where more people will enter, so I think that I would like to visit again without hesitation."[2]


External Links

Photo from event

MTV review

Japanese review(via Internet Archive)