In partnership w/ Sounds Familiar
Alex from Tokyo is an international man of musical wonderment with a career spanning more than three decades. Liken music to landscapes, and Alex from Tokyo becomes the famed moss temple of Kyoto: a lush, paradisical garden as diverse as it is beautiful, as serene as it is wild, full of life and eager to share it. The organic vibrancy of Alex from Tokyo’s music reflects his rich palette of life experiences and creative endeavors.
Born in Paris but calling Tokyo home from the age of four, Alex grew up amid the sounds and spectacles of earth’s largest city. Alex returned to his birthplace of Paris in 1991, in principle for university studies but really to dive into the Paris underground club scene. Music and fate brought him together with DJ Deep and DJ Gregory in 1993, who together formed the DJ unit “A Deep Groove” known for their now legendary lunchtime radio show on Paris’ Radio FG 98.2 fm.
Japan called Alex home in 1995, and found him working for the Tokyo branch of Mr.Bongo and its sub-label Disorient and as a correspondent for legendary French labels such as Laurent Garnier’s F Communications. 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 and helped produce one of the earliest Japanese dance music compilations, “Showa 64,” on Mr.Bongo’s Disorient label.
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. While in Japan, Alex began producing original music under the name Tokyo Black Star with sound engineer Isao Kumano. Tokyo Black Star’s debut release, a remix of “For You” by Big Moses (ft. 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, the same year Alex made the move to New York City. 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 (Kenichi Takagi joined as an official member of the group in 2015) also handed down EPs for DJ Deep’s Deeply Rooted House records and Slam Jam’s Reincarnation label, along with remixes for Tony Allen, Carl Craig, Phenomenal Handclap Band, Kuniyuki, and Bing Ji Ling, to name a few.
Alex might be most well known and loved as a DJ and music producer (Tokyo Black Star), but he also wears the hats of sound designer, international coordinator, audio professional (PHONON), and more. In 2013, for example, Y-3 (Yamamoto and Adidas) tapped Alex to curate a deluxe limited edition compilation box set to mark its tenth anniversary, featuring 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, for UK label Claremont 56 Alex crafted the culminating chapter of its “Originals” compilation series.
From Paris to Tokyo, New York City and now Berlin since 2017, Alex is all about making big moves—he is what the Japanese call a tabibito, or traveler. How fitting that Alex treats global listeners these days to eclectic musical journeys on his resident show “ta bi bi to,” hosted by Kiosk radio (Brussels) every month. He also releases a steady stream of music on his label world famous (recent releases include the project AWIDA “NYC Connexion EP” with Willie Graff & Darren Eboli and Tokyo Black Star’s “Blade Dancer EP”).