Yousuke Yukimatsu’s profile in Japan has been quickly rising due to his adventurous and powerful approach to DJing, traversing techno, bass and more experimental sounds. His distinctive style is on display in his contribution for Electronic Explorations. Yukimatsu has delivered a bold, elemental mix, one that finds the right balance between exploration and rhythm. It has a clear arc and narrative, weaving together different sounds and drawing on some artists he has connections to. – Chris SSG (Curator of this EE Japan Special)
Yousuke Yukimatsu was born in Osaka in 1979 and started DJing in 2008. He got his first big break in 2014 when he played with DJ Nobu and NHK’Koyxen. From then, Yukimatsu soon had the chance to play at Future Terror and Dommune, as well as supporting many of the most interesting names coming through Osaka, such as Cut Hands, Adam, Marcel Fengler, Oneohtrix Point Never as well as playing at the PAN records showcase. In 2016 Yukimatsu started his own party called “Zone Unknown”, which has invited people like Shapednoise and Imaginary Forces. He also helped in the compilation of tracks for YPY’s album, Zurhyrethm, on EM Records, and has released a mix CD entitled ‘Lazy Rouse’ through Black Smoker records.
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. [Words: Chris SSG]
Lazy Rouse mix CD: http://blacksmoker.cart.fc2.