If Salvador Dali were alive he'd be a techno fan. Well, if not a fan, at least a supporter of Japanese techno artist Ken Ishii; Ishii is sure of it. You can't really blame him for his wishful thinking, he cites Dali's work as a creative influence and a muse for his music. Ishii feels a strong connection to the deceased surrealist. 'All of his work was made with very high-techniques and deep thoughts. But Dali appeared as a sort of star, his airs and his big moustache. The combination of his very show-off side with a very deep technical side, I like that combination,' he said. The esoteric Ishii is big on opposites and balance. With a yin and yang attitude to his music, he has received rave reviews from pundits and ravers for his techno with heart. His reputation for sounds - often described as 'weird' and creating 'blissful pandemonium' in clubs - was solidified with his most recent effort, Sleeping Madness. 'I like duality, what I think is cool is something with totally different aspects. Very beautiful, clean surfaces with very naughty dirty crazy content. That's what I want to make.' The sound is different from his previous album Metal Blue America, which marked his fascination with America and rock music. It also includes collaborations with British Indian artist Talvin Singh and New Yorker fusion artist DJ Spooky. 'On Metal Blue America I did many direct sounds, as much as I could. It was very different from the previous album. After my last album I looked back at my original techno taste and found some new elements. 'If I do it on my own, there's nobody to criticise my music and I can be selfish. If you have someone else in the studio, you can talk about the music, about silly things, each other's background and cultures. I got a good inspiration from talking to people from other cultures. It was good for my new mentality,' said the 29-year-old. With just four years in the techno industry, Ishii has become a veritable celebrity - his event last weekend at Star East attracted 1,500 people and turned away a few disappointed late-comers. Since his gig in Hong Kong last year, he has noticed local clubbers have matured. 'They know how to react to this kind of music compared to last time and I felt a bit of trance influence in the crowd. Hong Kong will be a techno city.' Ishii started in Japan in 1989, working as a producer and peddling his demo to various European labels. At the time, he said, there wasn't much happening with the Japanese techno scene. It has since expanded at, some would say, the cost of quality underground music. 'Japan was imitating the European scene at the beginning. But now it's bigger, it has more artists and DJs. I think it's getting more original compared to the European or American scenes.' In 1993 Ishii released his debut single Garden On The Palm on Belgian independent label R&S - the track peaked at number one on New Musical Express's techno charts. His debut album, Jelly Tones, followed in 1995, and the single Extra, scoring MTV Europe's best dance music video award, enhanced its fame. Metal Blue America came at the end of 1997 and by then Ishii was a Japanese techno icon. Frequently referred to as the 'Japanese techno God', Ishii is unfazed by his fans' devotion. 'The first time I heard it, it was weird. But I'm just doing what I want to do, so now I don't care. I'm still challenging myself with new things. I'm not repeating myself as a 'god'. 'I always experiment with sounds, I always want to be cutting edge. I'm trying to make music accessible to normal people but I do always want to leave it very experimental.' Ishii's commitment to the 'underground' has also run counter to global trends in techno music. Perhaps the most berated of all dance-music genres for its commercial overtones, techno has even been bashed by its creators. However, Ishii is confident it can be saved: 'In a way techno is repeating itself, it's getting more functional, to just make people dance. Techno should have more experiments, more spirit and attitude. It should be music that is challenging to normal established music. I'm positive that the commercialism of techno is needed to keep this music on the market, but underground is always there. It's natural to have two directions.' Ishii's love for the music will keep him in the industry, or as he puts it, 'keeping the techno spirit'. He plans to experiment further with electronica and whatever else appeals to him, with work on a new album tentatively scheduled to begin early next year. 'I don't really have a religion, but I'm more interested in spirituality, and cyber-culture, my music seems more and more influenced by those kinds of things.'