Metamorphose is an unique and has a special status in the rapidly increasing Japanese open air music festivals, not only for the size but also for the quality and wide range of participating artists regardless of their genre. The event was held at the amusement park, “Nihon land HOW Yu-enchi” spread out at the foot of Mt. Fuji on the 23rd and 24th of last August.

It was the world as if a toy box was turned over. This event matched the description “an amusement park of music.” A Laser light show, floating balloon in the venue, mysterious decoration and lighting here and there were coupled with the atmosphere of the amusement park. People were under the illusion that it was likesweet memories, but it was the world we have never seen. The best electric music and sacred Mt. Fuji were there. Everybody, both players and audiences, jointly ownedthe organic experiencecreated when independent creators brought their talent together and collaborated in such a big box, Metamorphose.

It was the “Ris” that seemed to represent the creation of this phenomenon. It is an art project set up by creators who play an active part in the Nippon art, subculture and technology scene. Naohiro Ukawa, Takamasa Aoki and other artists who represent the Japanese art scene performed in a visual installation set up in the dome-shaped venue called “Risdome”. The theme was experimental sound and motion graphics. This kind of event provides opportunities for experiencing several genres of art for people who gather by the keyword, “dance music”.

The lineup in the solar area and lunar area was like a showcase of progressive club music and was an exposition not only of dance music but artists who had the common language of sound. It gave us a fresh surprise every time. The stream from Kaoru Inoue to the last artists, Christ in last year’s solar area has been one of the best scenes in my party life. Though Christ’s smashing beat, sky and Mt.Fuji were simple components, the powerful space created by them was suitable for the finale of this event.

The differentiation between these two area was that the lunar area was on the side of full-on and Solar area was on free-style but they were blurred around the border. It is alsocharacteristic of the Metamorphose. Green Velvet who have taken part in these last two years made funky Chicago atmosphere in the lunar area having DJ performance with special features such as moving the upper half of his body regularly. Fumiya Tanaka, Joey Beltram, Suburban Knight and Mayuri who presided Metamorphose, led audiences dancing against Mt.Fuji to the fusion of repetitive beats and amplified images. Especially impressive stage was Sebastian Legar’s. The calm playby the 24-years-old did not compel to people to dance but dance they did unconsciously turning the slow hanging groove into a large wave.

Dub Squad

It was the solar area on a loose slope that people were able to listen to electronic music without any special attention, spending their time as they wanted to. The latest electronic music was just there. Come to think of it, it is rare to see Merzbow, Kaoru Inoue and Boom Boom Sattelites on the same stage. This is the fascination of Metamorphose and the reason that it keeps a unique and special status. As was expected, the place that provided us the biggest surprise experience was also here. Changes from 3Chairs’s DJ session at dawn to Dub Squad’s live session and to Jamie Liddel.

DJingand the live performance by three people was followed by an overwhelming solo performance. Jamie Liddel is known by his collaboration with Herbert and SuperCollider. His beatbox vocalsgave us the happy experience of unexpected things in such a nice, live, event filled with the pleasure of electronic music. At the finale of this event, he sung “music is truth” in acappella. He then showed us the existence of pure pleasure in the sequel and then the story of coming back to the vocal chords which has been with people since humanity was born.

Jamie Liddel

The event was over and the amusement parkreturned to normaility. Around 11 in the morning, general customers such as familiesappeared and the venue was tidied up quickly. What I felt during walking through the park was a longing feeling and an illusion that the last nightwas a dream. That kind of feeling led me to a trapeze attraction which I did not normally go to. I got into it with the children who had been looking forward to playing and I realised the event was over, turned around, and looked at the sky.

Metamorphose keeps evolvingthe open-air stage effect and participation of the art project, “Ris.” Setting up factory booths from Yamaha, Roland and Korg as well as the music grows year by year. Not sticking to a fixed style but having the concept that change is their style lives up to the name Metamorphose. It will give visitors new experiences every time.

Metamorphose 2003
Date: August 23, 24 2003
Place: Nihon Land HOW Yuenchi (Mt.Fuji)
Fee: advance 8,500yen day 10,000yen

Text and Photos: Yasuharu Motomiya
Translation: Naoko Fukushi

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