DJ Kaori

DJ Kaori's Party Mix

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Holding her standing in the club scene, onetime New Yorker DJ Kaori continued her mixtape dominance in Japan with Party Mix, a massive set of 2009 hits with a high-energy dance vibe continuous throughout. The songs themselves are largely American and European hits in various remixes (Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, M.I.A., etc.), but with extensive beat juggling, call-outs, and various ornamentations courtesy of Kaori. The result is surprisingly good. A remix album isn't much on its own, but there's a certain level of care taken in the choice and ordering of pieces, helping create not only a logical flow from hit to hit but a careful modification of the overall mood throughout. The switches in atmosphere are subtle, shifting quietly from full-on dance music to dance-heavy R&B balladry and back without missing a beat. The mark of a good party mix isn't a highlight in the normal sense, but a coherent and seamless whole that can keep a party moving properly. Kaori succeeds here, starting out particularly hot and moving her way into a very slightly more lulled midsection before finishing strongly again with hopped-up remixes of Avril Lavigne and M.I.A. It's a fine piece of work -- monolithic, never stopping, but allowing the dancers to catch their breath when needed.