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DJ Yazi is a fixture of the Tokyo scene, someone who has been quietly honing his craft for many years. But for whatever reason, it took me a while to discover his abilities. What did it was hearing him in warm up mode. In a slot that too many DJs get wrong, Yazi showed a deep understanding of his role and played beautifully. A similar sense of care and patience is on display in this mix, with Yazi perfectly building the energy as he moves from more abstract sounds into a very heady brand of techno. – [Chris SSG – Japan curator]

DJ Yazi has been active since the mid-1990s, drawing inspiration from across the musical spectrum: the mentality of hip hop, the ferocity of dub and jazz, the intensity of techno and the euphoria of house. As a DJ he moves fluidly across styles, with his sets connected by a strong focus on deep and tripped out grooves. Yazi is a core member of Black Smoker records and has appeared at the major clubs in Tokyo and parties throughout Japan. He also performs with Haruka as Twin Peaks, an improvisational live act.

高純度のディープ・トリップ・ミュージックを垂れ流し続ける脅威の黒煙集団・THINK TANKのオリジナルメンバー/DJであり、BLACK SMOKER RECORDS主催”EL NINO”のレジデントDJ。90年代半ばから活動をスタート。ヒップホップのメンタリティー、テクノの恍惚感、ハウスの多幸感と、ダブやジャズの凶暴性などなどをうっかり掛け合わせながらも、しっかり自在に操るオールラウンダーDJであり、 そのプレイ時におけるグルーヴィーなミックス、的確な二枚使いやハメ技のスクラッチまで、そのダイナミックかつブレの無い一貫したスタイルと徹底した安定感、そしてフロアを独自のカラーに染め上げるその手腕に同業者からも熱い厚い信頼を受ける男である。レギュラーパーティーを軸にしながら貫いている徹底した現場重視のスタンスは、関東近辺の名スポットから日本各地にまでその活動の幅を広げており、様々な深夜を人一倍の薄明かりの中で美しく彩り、そして確実に揺らしている。

Japan has long played a fundamental role in electronic music, from being the home of many of its defining instruments to the early contributions of artists such as YMO, then Fumiya Tanaka, Keni Ishii and DJ Krush, amongst others. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the country as another generation of artists has come to the fore, with artists like DJ Nobu, Ena, Ryo Murakami and Goth-Trad gaining international recognition. Electronic Explorations has recently featured mixes previously from Japanese producers such as Wata Igarashi and Katsunori Sawa. But geography and language barriers mean that some of the country’s talent is not seen.

So for this series we wanted to put the spotlight on the next wave of artists in Japan. All are primarily DJs and at different stages of their respective careers, but each has a distinct and interesting take on electronic music. The artists also echo the sounds explored by some of the artists now making their mark. Yukimatsu and Zodiak share connections with Ryo Murakami, Haruki and Yazi are affiliated with Nobu’s Future Terror crew, and Lynne is exploring a sound similar to what Ena is associated with. Stylistically this also means they match with the kind of music that distinguishes the Electronic Explorations series.

An important point to note is that these DJs are all based in Tokyo (Haruka, Lynne and Yazi) and Osaka (Yukimatsu and Zodiak), which means the focus is limited to these two cities, but these are the places with the biggest scenes in the country. There is a logic to the structure of the series: the first two mixes are more on the experimental side and from the Osaka DJs, before we move to Tokyo, with Lynne’s mix – in the Samurai / ASC style – acting as a bridge to the more psychedelic brand of techno Yazi and Haruka delve in to. A final point to note: the mixes were all sourced and compiled with the approach that we previously used for MNML SSGS. The blog is the dead, the mentality is alive and well.

My first connections to techno in Japan were with the Mix-Up series including mixes from Fumiya Tanaka, Takkyu Ishino, Ken Ishii and the seminal ‘Jeff Mills Live at Liquid Room’. In the early 2000s I first visited Japan and experienced clubbing in Tokyo including at the legendary venues Liquid Room, Yellow and Maniac Love. Japan was later an important reference point for the MNML SSGS blog, and since 2010 I have been based in Tokyo. This country has been central to my musical and personal development. I feel fortunate to now be part of a supportive and cooperative scene in Tokyo. Hopefully these mixes can give you a bit more of an insight into techno in Japan, and also allow people to recognize not only the differences but also the points of commonality and overlap with what is happening in other parts of the world. While it is never possible to fully escape context, one of the great things about electronic music is the way it can connect people together. Huge thanks to Rob for proposing this series and providing such an amazing platform. I have the upmost respect for his tireless efforts to push quality and innovative music and am very appreciative of the opportunity he has provided.

Black Smoker records:


  1. Thursday (木) – DJ Yazi (Tokyo, Japan) - EE Japan Special
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  3. 01. Endless Fields Of Fern / Lingua Lustra [Ambient Planet]
  4. 02. Maroush (dub edit) / A Sacred Geometry [ASG]
  5. 03. Helion Prime / Mindspan [Covert Operations / ASC]
  6. 04. Seeing things / Modern Eleven [Annulled Music]
  7. 05. Goha (HBTVSK Remix) / LigovskoU+EF [DEMENT3D]
  8. 06. At The Gates / A Sacred Geometry [ASG]
  9. 07. Tidal / Deepbass [Informa Records]
  10. 08. M31 (Reeko remix) / Jonas Kopp [PoleGroup]
  11. 09. Centaurus A / Lewis Fautzi [PoleGroup]
  12. 10. Constructed Form / WILL WARD [Newrhythmic Records]
  13. 11. Pose / Bas Mooy [Perk Trax]
  14. 12. Sumaritma (Edit Select Remixes) / Seraphim Rytm [Silent Season]
  15. 13. Child / Birth Of Frequency [Taapion Records]
  16. 14. New World / Alderaan [Insula Records]
  17. 15. Ecliptic / AWB [AWB]
  18. 16. Love Trade / Antigone & Francois X [DEMENT3D]
  19. 17. In Absentia featuring PVNV / Shlomo [Delsin Records]
  20. 18. Belisama / As Patria [Shaded Explorations]