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Alex from Tokyo
(Tokyo Black Star, world famous, Berlin)

Paris-born, Tokyo-raised, Berlin-based DJ, music producer, sound designer and world famous label owner.

In constant flow, Alex from Tokyo is an international man of musical wonderment. His career extends over three decades and covers the globe from Japan and France to NYC and now his current base of Berlin. It would be simply unthinkable—who would even dare? — to pin Alex down within a fixed space-time or artistic continuum.

Calling Tokyo home from the age of four, Alex grew up amid the sounds and spectacles of earth’s largest city. The lil’ French gaijin played baseball, practiced kendo (Japanese swordsmanship), honed an ear for eclectic soundscapes, fell in love with dance music frequenting Shibuya and Roppongi record stores and dancing all night long at fames underground clubs like The Bank, Picasso, Milos Garage, Another World and Gold. Alex returned to his birthplace of Paris in September 1991, in principle for university studies but really to dive into the Paris underground club scene. Fate—and music—brought him together with DJ Deep and DJ Gregory in 1993, and as DJ unit “A Deep Groove” known for their now-legendary lunchtime radio show on Paris’ Radio FG 98.2fm.

Moving back to Japan in 1995 smack in the middle of the second electronic music boom, Alex quickly became a staple of the exciting Tokyo scene. He worked for the Tokyo branch of Mr.Bongo, a renowned label and provider of fine music in the UK, and its sub-label Disorient, and as a correspondent for legendary French labels such as Laurent Garnier’s F Communications. Alex emerged as the go-to contact for European labels, DJs, and artists seeking a presence in Japan. His coordinating and curatorial skills gained repute at the same time. Alex arranged the Japanese part of the compilation project “Bossa Tres Jazz…When East Meets West” on the French label Yellow Productions. He helped produce one of the earliest Japanese dance music compilations, “Showa 64,” on Mr.Bongo’s Disorient label. More.

The last decade of the twentieth century saw Alex blossoming as an artist in his own right and breaking out as one of the strongest crossover DJs in Japan. Mix CDs for Tokyo’s P-Vine, Flavour of Sound, Rush Productions, Flower Records, Ultra Vybe and Italy Slam Jam’s Reincarnation. A weekly radio show “Tokyo Club Mix Showcase” every Wednesday night on Shibuya FM 78.4. A residency at club Space Lab Yellow in Tokyo. And the birth of a touring career that would stretch far beyond the isles of Japan, to Asia and then the world at large.

Music production came next, naturally. Following the release of two remixes under the name “Tokyo 246 Ave. Project” (on Disorient for Ashley Beedle and on Frederic Galiano’s label Frikyiwa)  and of his very 1st solo track Dj Alex “Highlife blues” (Mozambique recordings) in the late 90s, Alex began producing original music under the name Tokyo Black Star with sound engineer Isao Kumano (Kenichi Takagi joined as an official member of the group in 2015). Tokyo Black Star’s debut release, a remix of “For You” by Big Moses (feat. Ja’nel), came out on Kerri Chandler’s label Basemental in 2000. Berlin label Innervisions selected Tokyo Black Star’s “Psyche Dance” EP to be its very first release in 2005. Innervisions has since released four other Tokyo Black Star EPs, including the group’s debut album “Black Ships” in April 2009. The duo-turned-trio also handed down EPs for DJ Deep’s Deeply Rooted House records and Slam Jam’s Reincarnation label, along with remixes for such legendary artists as Tony Allen, Carl Craig (Planet E’s 20th anniversary Psyche “Neurotic Behavior” on Planet E, 2011), Phenomenal Handclap Band (Tummy Touch Records, 2013), Kuniyuki (mule music), and Bing Ji Ling (Lovemonk), to name a few.

Nicknamed by his music friends as “world famous,” Alex made it his brand name in 2002. The maiden release on Alex’s world famous label featured a remastered version of Japanese DJ/producer Dan K’s lost deep house classic “Melancholic dub” on the A side and a Tokyo Black Star remix of Japanese acoustic rock artist Breath Mark on the B side. Alex relaunched the label from New York in November 2015 with Tokyo Black Star’s “Edo Express EP,” which they followed with the epic soundtrack album “Fantasy Live 1999” in summer 2016. For the second release of the label, Alex collaborated in NYC with his dear friend the musician Quinn Luke aka Bing Ji Ling on the song “Not my day.”

Alex’s passion for coordinating, consulting, and curating followed him into the new millennium as well. To give a few examples, Y-3, the powerhouse fashion collaboration between Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas, tapped Alex to curate a limited super deluxe edition compilation box set to mark its tenth anniversary. Alex’s “Y-3 10th Anniversary Compilation” features original exclusive tracks from 14 innovative artists including the likes of Larry Heard, Joe Claussell, Quiet Village, Daniel Wang, Maurice Fulton, Discodromo & Massimilano Pagliara, Frank Wiedemann, and Kaoru Inoue. That same year, UK label Claremont 56 chose Alex to craft the culminating chapter of its “Originals” compilation series. Alex also translated Laurent Garnier’s autobiography “Electrochoc” into Japanese in 2006 (Tokyo: Kawade Shobo).

Drawn by New York City—the spiritual home of dance and club music—and moved by special encounters with Larry Levan, Francois Kevorkian, David Mancuso, Daniel Wang, and Sarah Ellison, Alex decided to make the Big Apple his home in 2005.After twelve years mixing it up in the Big Apple, Alex relocated to Berlin in 2017 to open a new chapter in his music life. He still travels regularly to Japan, Asia (he is one of the resident DJ of the club The Observatory in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), and beyond, soaking up the sounds and sharing his “happy-funky-positive” soundscapes.

Keen to share their sonic adventures with the world, Alex and Kumano of Tokyo Black Star launched phonon (phonon-inc.com) in 2010, crafting exceptional audio equipment for sound aficionados.

Berlin’s crazy Cocktail d’Amore party features Alex as one of its resident DJs. So does the intimate music club Ohm for its Aquarian Shift party. And let’s not forget his 20+ year residency at the Sunday afternoon party “Gallery” at CAY in Aoyama, Tokyo, alongside dear music friends DJ Nori, Kenji Hasegawa, and Fukuba. Always keeping it fresh, moreover, Alex treats global listeners to eclectic musical journeys on his resident show “ta bi bi to” (music for travelling people), hosted by Kiosk radio (Brussels) every other month.

The world famous label relaunched digitally and physically from Berlin in the Fall 2019 with the project AWIDA “NYC Connexion EP” with Willie Graff & Darren Eboli and in the Spring 2020 with Tokyo Black Star “Blade dancer EP”. Be on the lookout for new original music, compilation projects and collaborations by Alex as well as some new Tokyo Black Star projects in 2021 and beyond…

 

Links:
https://www.soundsfamiliar.it/roster/alex-from-tokyo

https://www.facebook.com/Alex-From-Tokyo-440236945999739/
https://soundcloud.com/alexfromtokyo
https://www.mixcloud.com/alexfromtokyo/

http://alexfromtokyo.jp

Tokyo Black Star original productions:
https://soundcloud.com/tokyoblackstar