They say that everything that rises must converge.
Look no further than the electronic music of DJ/producer Takkyu Ishino.
As one half of the techno-pop duo Denki Groove he creates some serious fun through electronics and as the internationally successful "Japanese DJ Takkyu Ishino" he charts a course through cybernetic and edgy techno.
Stunningly, his latest album, KARAOKEJACK, seems to reconcile all of the above. It seems the Shizuoka-born Ishino is narrowing in on a singular sound -- for the moment.
Looking back on his aggressive underground DJ sets over the years, it seems unlikely that Takkyu would be "settling down." His successful history as a DJ shows that even while shifting through styles and concocting new electronic combinations, he still rocks a crowd. And not just any crowd, mind you: He remains the only Japanese DJ to play from the Siegessaule at Berlin's Love Parade three years in a row!
Before embarking on intercontinental DJ trips he started out in a band called Zinsei (meaning "One's life") with high school friend Pierre Taki. The two unleashed the Denki Groove together in 1990 following the break-up of Zinsei. Together, their recordings have helped elevate the prominence of techno in Japan -- the album A alone sold OVER 360,000 copies! Their latest album releases are VOXXX and their first ever live-remix album ilbon2000.
Takkyu's solo career for the most part has echoed his DJ style -- distilling futuristic and retro-chic sounds into a minimal, yet potent uptempo blend. He put out his first solo release Dove Loves Dub in 1995, and created the Loopa label in 1998 to further his minimal explorations. In 2001, Karaoke Jack brings everything full circle. Takkyu's sound is full of energy like Berlin Trax and Throbbing Disco Cat before it, but showcases an agile and playful use of samples -- even making a few hip-hop references! Overall it shows a great progression of style and skill.
What's even more surprising is that KARAOKEJACK was not produced with the specific goal on completing an album. Some tracks were completed long before others, and, more importantly, there was no fixed deadline as such. Because of this, there is a deliberate and very relaxed approach to the music. This is especially true on tracks such as "Stereo Nights," which has one of the most elaborate vocal components in to date in Takkyu's solo endeavors. Clearly these new tracks are not just DJ tools, but full-fledged songs -- what Takkyu is calling "sequential elektro tekno disko."
Perhaps the musical convergence of KARAOKEJACK speaks to practicality as well -- after all, this is the same Takkyu Ishino that also fills his schedule with organization and promotion duties! How one man is able to continue to develop as an artist and manage projects such as the Ghost In The Shell compilation, the DJF series and the gigantic, indoor WIRE parties is nothing less than remarkable.