The dubstep sound — characterized by 2-step garage beats and deep, undulating bass lines — that began in London about a decade ago has caught on somewhat in Tokyo and evolved into its own scene. It’s still relatively young, but groups of Japanese and foreign artists are injecting their own energy and talent.
Major international dubstep artists such as Skream, Mala and Loefah have played at Unit’s DBS events in Daikanyama and Back to Chill at Shibuya’s Club Asia. But the Basement Ltd. series of parties in Shibuya stand out because, among the few dubstep events in Tokyo, they are run by a non-Japanese person. French DJ and 7even Recordings label owner Greg G puts on the events every few months at Shibuya’s Club Module. The next party, to be held on March 26, celebrates releases by two 7even artists, Ena and Helixir. All profits from the party will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.
Ena is a major figure in Tokyo’s dubstep scene and plays regularly at Back to Chill events. He also owns IAI Recordings and, having also put out music on Russian, British and French labels, is steadily becoming more globally known with his recent 7even vinyl 12″ release, “Sign.” His musical range, which spans genres of bass music such as drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep, complements the diversity of 7even.
“The 7even sound is deep, dubby, rave, experimental,” he says. “For me, bass music is that.”
The event’s headliner, Kevin Martin, began his Helixir project in 2004 after many years of musical experimentation in his hometown of Strasbourg, France. Describing his style as “aquatic bass moody music,” his “Undivided” CD release on 7even is his first full-length album. Despite only having released music for a few years, he has found success quickly through his 7even singles.
“I guess I have been lucky, because (with each release) there was one (track) at least that has been played by Mary Ann Hobbes on her BBC Radio 1 ‘Experimental Show,’ and also supported by other various established artists.”
As Helixir, Martin will perform a live set at Basement Ltd., and also at Cafe Domina in Nagoya on March 25.
For more information, visit www.module-tokyo.com.