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Who the Hell are Clock Hazard? Get to Know Japan’s Anonymous Techno Rebels

Meet the subversive heroes and anti-heroes of the Japanese electronic underground.

Kris Keogh

First up, if you want to hear what it might sound like to have your face ripped off by a Godzilla-sized, glitching technoid squirrel, press play on the track below. I can't remember the last time techno felt so dangerous or exhilarating.

Yep, the CLOCK HAZARD crew are making dancefloor music for the future, right now, on their own terms.

They insist on anonymity, releasing music under ever changing aliases that can't help but bring a smile to your face. The Clock Hazard roster now includes tracks from Bath.Unit, Caramel Brain Ideas, Artshit, Hot Beat Slime, I'm Rich and over a dozen others. Googling any of them in fruitless, there's simply nothing to be found.

This chosen anonymity grew from dissatisfaction with Japanese audiences, who, according to the Clock Hazard crew, seemed to be more worried about the name and status of the performer than the actual music they were making. Freeing themselves from identity, and the inevitable slog of self-promotion that typically comes with it, has let these artists do what they do best; make amazing music.

They insist that they produce "techno and house," but that's far too simplistic a description. You can hear influences from all over the electronic spectrum; bass music, garage, juke, electro, chiptune, bassline house, rave and '90's breakbeat.

Check out the track "Acryl" by Gave Lo, as a fine example of the bass music side of things:

Or, if main room bangers are more your thing, here's U_O_A_I in full Chicago House mode:

Bursting into existence just over a year ago in Kyoto, Clock Hazard has quickly spread its tentacles across the country, with producers in Nagoya, Fukuoka and Tokyo now in on the fun. After recently visiting Japan to work out exactly what's going on, it's safe to say that several of the Clock Hazard crew are actually well-known Japanese producers, making the most of the subversive artistic opportunities the label provides.

Apart from releases that stream out almost fortnightly from their Bandcamp site, the Clock Hazard crew also play live. It's an eclectic and energetic collision of up to half a dozen of the crew bringing their gear and going track for track, usually for several hours.

Clock Hazard Takeover, Kyoto Seika University KIYASAI, 2014. Photo by Utabi23

The Clock Hazard Soundcloud also hosts a swag of unreleased tracks, plus a radio show where members drop irregular DJ mixes. Here's a personal fave, DJ Space Safari impeccably mixing an hour of minimal house, bass music and techno. I had Shazam working overtime.

Finally, check out the latest release from the label, a collaboration (or not, who knows?) between Captain Kick and VWXW. It's a 100% pure, distorted acid freakout. Enjoy!

Clock Hazard know what time it is. You can find out too via their website, Bandcamp, Soundcloud or Twitter