DJ KRUSH (Buy CDs by this artist)
Krush (Japan. Chance/Columbia) 1994
Strictly Turntablized (UK Mo Wax) 1994
Krush (Shadow/Instinct) 1995
Meiso (UK Mo Wax) 1995 (Mo Wax/ffrr) 1996
After forming the Krush Posse in 1987, Tokyo's DJ Krush made a name for himself in Japan as a solo artist with a number of jazz-based hip-hop singles, soundtrack remixes and compilation tracks. In the US, his imports helped inspire Guru's Jazzmatazz fusion; Krush and Stictly Turntablized make it clear his mix of turntable scratching and electronic sequencing with live instrumentation outstrips the efforts of other jazz/hip-hop hybridizers. Rather than simply juxtapose horns with beats, Krush brings together the most adventurous aspects of hip-hop with the free-spiritedness of avant-garde jazz.
The American edition of Krush is a milestone, a dizzying collision of genres. The DJ improvises in a variety of jazz modes with trumpet players Kazufumi Kodama and Nobutaka Kuwabara, saxophonist Koichiro Samukawa, bassists Takeharu Hayakawa and Osamu Marumoto and pianist Ken Shima. "Roll & Tumble" begins with an hypnotic hip-hop beat and deep bass before stopping on a dime. Then it erupts into a trickling piano solo. "On the Dub-ble" adds dub bass to its mix of beats, scratching and muted Miles Davis-styled trumpet. "Into the Water" takes the Miles-like psychedelic influence even further into the mystic. The few vocal tracks featuring Monday Michiru and Sonya Vallet are reminiscent of Sade's cool, jazzy pop, but with more adventurous instrumentation. DJ Krush's potential impact on the future of electronic and DJ-based music cannot be overstated.
With much less of an explicit jazz element, Meiso involves such American notables as C.L. Smooth, Guru and the Roots to rap over the late-night beats. Still, it's Krush's show all the way. Whether behind them or on their own, his sensuous grooves-which calmly fold together Eastern and Western elements-are far more potent than any of the rhymes, opening the doors to further fascinating intercultural exploration of the space between foursquare hip-hop and floating ambient techno.[Mark Kemp]
All contents copyright 2007 Trouser Press LLC