Various Artists

DJ Kaori's J Mix

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Putting in time in the clubs of New York, DJ Kaori returned to Tokyo to quickly become a megastar DJ, pumping out highly successful mixtapes that included every major name in the contemporary J-pop scene, with an added focus on those in the J-Urban end of affairs. On her first Japanese-centric mix (others may have included a few Western tracks), she makes the rounds with tracks from Exile, from Misia, and from Thelma Aoyama. The mix isn't entirely unlike that of other mixtape masters (Funkmaster Flex, for example). The tracks are presented fairly simply, but with extended cuts in some portions, deft mixing and beat juggling on the transitions from one track to another, and the occasional call out from an artist to proclaim Kaori's majesty. The artists are represented well, with strong selections made on the part of Kaori and an exceptionally cohesive order (thanks in part to the transitions) keeping all tracks in line. A handful of selections specifically from Kaori (sometimes in combination with Double) are his more tangible contributions, and come off well. A bit like an album track from Zhane, mid-'90s, but they fit the scene well and reinforce Kaori's musical credibility. A nice mixtape, and a decent, if brief, introduction to the growing J-Urban scene, Kaori makes a good tour guide for the intrepid listener.