Casino Versus Japan is the recording name for Erik Kowalski (born May 5, 1973), a United States-based electronic musician who produces intelligent dance music (IDM for short).
As a young boy in Wisconsin he recorded episodes of television series Miami Vice, sampling Jan Hammer's music, later collecting them, and playing them over the backdrop of other musical genres. After a brief stint with model railroading such experiments with tape grew less obvious. Samples were collected from a range of sources, and eventually mixed with meager homespun recordings. Later attending Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, Kowalski would often be found playing the grand piano in the empty auditorium rather than attending class, slowly teaching himself chord progressions. During this same period, he also learned the basics of other instruments including guitar and drums in an effort to put together simple songs. By then, other influences began to take hold.
Kowalski (recording as Radiogate in 1996 and 1997) found many creative peers and grew into an integrated underground electronic music community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His tenure at Atomic Records , along with writing for the alternative fanzine Milk Magazine , kept him informed on developments within many styles of innovative music. While being a rabid music consumer and collector, all of these points became the ingredients of a dedicated music hobby that led into "Casino Versus Japan". In early 1998, he approached Mike Bailey of the local electronic label Star Star Stereo with some demo tapes, and shortly thereafter, released his self titled debut Casino Versus Japan, which subsequently led to live performances. In 2000, Go Hawaii was released on Wobblyhead , garnering critical praise. The track "It's Very Sunny" later found itself in a Hummer television commercial in the summer of 2002, allowing his music to reach a far wider audience. A new album, Whole Numbers Play The Basics, was released the same year on Carpark Records
- Casino Versus Japan, CD (Star Star Stereo)
- Go Hawaii, CD (Wobblyhead)
- "Go Hawaii, 2x12" (City Centre Offices)
- "Via", 10" (Wobblyhead)
- Whole Numbers Play The Basics, CD and LP (Carpark Records)
- Hitori + Kaiso 1998 - 2001, Double CD (Attack 9)