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Jason Jenkins

Jason Jenkins spent 13 years in Tokyo writing about music, cameras, parenting and contemporary art. In his spare time, he and his children searched the city for new places to learn and play. His family is now traveling while they experiment with homeschooling and working remotely. Jason writes about their trip at

For Jason Jenkins's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

De La Soul: 'Live at Tramps, 1996,' 'De La Mix Tape'

/ Jun 20, 2004

De La Soul: "Live at Tramps, 1996," "De La Mix Tape"

Few hip-hop fans argue the relevance of golden-age innovators De La Soul, but two recent releases from the Rhino label may cause debate. The first, "Live at Tramps, NYC, 1996," catches the trio performing for a hyped home crowd near their creative peak -- ...

RJD2: 'Since We Last Spoke'

/ Jun 6, 2004

RJD2: "Since We Last Spoke"

Any DJ worth his wax knows there's more to hip-hop than beats, bravado and samples extracted from R&B vinyl. On "Since We Last Spoke," the Def Jux label's star spinner, RJD2, strays further from the medium's usual rap/soul axis and delves into arena rock, ...

/ May 16, 2004

The Beta Band: "Heroes to Zeros"

On "Heroes to Zeros," their third and considerably less-goofy LP, Edinburgh's puckish loners The Beta Band deliver more eclectic, off-kilter pop, but from a point much closer to the center than kaleidoscopic EPs of yore. Where past output spun around a double-helix of acoustic ...

Sufjan Stevens: 'Seven Swans'

/ Apr 11, 2004

Sufjan Stevens: "Seven Swans"

In a recent interview, Sufjan Stevens confessed vocal inadequacies: his range is limited; his falsetto is strained; he lacks Patti Smith's attitude and Willie Nelson's cliches. However, narrative, he says, saves the music from these weaknesses. He sells himself short, but Stevens has a point. ...

Junior Senior

/ Mar 21, 2004

Junior Senior

Danish duo Junior Senior may be difficult to describe, but their message is unmistakably clear: Get on the freaking dance floor. Their debut, "D-D-Don't Don't Stop the Beat," was last year's best party album, brimming with tracks that read like cheerleading chants: "Move Your ...

Lightning Bolt emerge from tightly knit scene

Feb 29, 2004

Lightning Bolt emerge from tightly knit scene

Avant-garde hardcore duo Lightning Bolt may be the heaviest thing ever to come out of Rhode Island. Technically precise, unwaveringly experimental and deafeningly loud, their shows are known for blowing the minds (and eardrums) of headbangers and jazzbos alike. Drummer Brian Chippendale speaks via ...

Harper pushing himself to a higher plane

Feb 15, 2004

Harper pushing himself to a higher plane

Ben Harper just had a great week. First, the singer/songwriter and master of the acoustic slide guitar spoke with Andre 3000 of hip-hop heroes OutKast about going into the studio together. A few days later, guitar legend Ry Cooder called about collaborating. Then blues ...

Savath & Savalas: 'Apropa't'

/ Feb 1, 2004

Savath & Savalas: "Apropa't"

In the spring of 2002, Scott Herren -- known best for avant-garde hip-hop under the moniker Prefuse 73 -- decided to put his beats in storage and move to Spain. There he met Eva Puyuelo Muns, a singer/songwriter with tastes in traditional Latin music ...

Bob Log III

/ Jan 25, 2004

Bob Log III

He may never show his face, but Bob Log III is by no means shy. With his head concealed by a motorcycle helmet hooked to a telephone receiver and his gut squeezed into a low-cut, blue spandex jumpsuit, Log looks more like Evel Knievel ...

Faye Wong: 'It's My Style'

/ Dec 21, 2003

Faye Wong: "It's My Style"

Fans of the Far East's most creative siren, Faye Wong, should know her latest album, "It's My Style," is worth the three-year wait. Due to a poetic reference to opium, the opener (and best track), "To Love," was banned in China. That means most ...