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SPTL124: Akiko Kiyama

A Japanese electronic pioneer hailing from Tokyo based in Berlin.

The Mix

Talk us through the track selection in the mix.

"I played "We sing the world" as a start of my set because this melodious stuff attracts the crowds' attention well and could change the atmosphere. I wanted to show my style and music direction on the following 15 minutes which tends to be a little bit more quiet and somehow sounds like an even spell, although they still keep the grooves and melodies - they are mostly unreleased tracks.
After 15 minutes, I was going in to more 'minimal techno', but still as you can hear, it is maybe not so much like that. I try to keep my groove intricate - a backwards groove."

"Around the half way point of my set, the sound is going to be deep and freaky with more low frequency, vocals and melody layers (but unfortunately or fortunately I am always very sober when I play live!) Before playing the baseline around 40 minutes in, I wanted to have a little break to keep calm and then the music is going to be dark again."

"I am very happy about the period mixed with "Echobus". Besides weirdness, this part is one of the bits I wanted to do. For me this set has ended at the "Echobus" once. The next track from "Echobus" is a live version of "Speak Bubble" to separate the atmosphere before and drive you to the next stage, and then the set is going till the end."

Tell us about the podcast - where and how was it recorded?

"It is recorded at Catenaccio/Nervmusic showcase , Kater Holzig Berlin, on 23rd November 2012."

Do you let your musical training with more classical instruments (such as the piano and guitar) influence your mixes?

"If I talk only about mix, I don't think there is an obvious influence by classical instruments. But since I was in classical music surroundings for long, I have been very much influenced by classical music and its way, I can say."

The Plug

What is keeping you busy at the moment?

"Reading books!"

What exactly was the attraction of moving to Berlin, Germany, to kick start your career?

"It was just happening. I came to Berlin in 2006 for a gig, then was walking around .. I didn't even know if I liked the city or not but just could imagine that I would walk on these streets again. Actually this is the main reason to move to Berlin."

You've got a weekend off. What do you do? Where do you go?

"If I were in Japan, I would go to the countyside and the place for hot springs.
In Berlin, I would like to do something creative. Maybe paintings or making ceramics if I had a chance."

What plans are in place for the coming year?

"At first, my 3rd album 'Deviation' (Nervmusic 008) has just been released and I will be playing that around. And I have some plans of EP release's also together with the Label 'Sleep Is Commercial'. Besides my minimal techno tracks, recently I have been working on experimental stuff as well. If I had a chance like last year at Eleven Tokyo, I would like to play my experimental set at a show again. And I am planning to own my label finally."


Japanese, Tokyo born Akiko Kiyama has been a prominent figure on the minimal techno scene since her first released productions in 2004. The first female minimal tech producer to have come out of Japan now lives and works from Berlin, Germany.

Akiko grew up with an education dominated by music, a classically trained pianist and guitar player by the age of twelve, she went on to explore and teach herself how to fuse her classic skills with sounds created by electronic equipment. Over the years that followed Akiko fell deeper into dance music, eager to evolve and create electronically manipulated sounds and atmospheres, she began producing in 2002. Kiyama's first works were released in 2004; her debut ep “Dimension” on London's Sud Electronic received outstanding support from the industry and names such as Richie Hawtin, Sven Vath and Ricardo Villalobos. Inspired by such an overwhelming debut Akiko went straight back into the studio, the result of which was her “Like Ancient” track being licensed by M-nus Records and going on to appear on Richie Hawtin's DE9 Transitions Compilation.

Akiko's sound is a complex pattern of sounds. Raw and industrial, dark and moody, her signature sits firmly within the minimal style, but with a melodic structure that gives shape and structure. It's rare that a sound so minimal results in something so engrossing, something that sucks you in and keeps you listening intently on what's going to happen next. Akiko's tracks feel like stories, captivatingly told through her experimentation with sound.

Now based in Berlin, Akiko holds a hefty 15 releases to her name on world renowned labels such as Contexterior, Thema, Lick My Deck and Safari Electronique amongst others. “7 Years”, Akiko's first solo album, released in 2008 on District of Corruption is an eleven track showcase of this artists complex talent. Live performances in London's Fabric, Berlin's infamous Berghain and many more worldwide; Akiko Kiyama continues to develop, produce and release as well as pushing the boundaries of minimal techno with her live set's performed around the world.

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