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DJ Krush

Remixed and Ready to Go

There are many kinds of DJs in the world. Paul van Dyk selling out to crowds of thousands anticipating dance music in its pure form, the ritualistic Chicken Dance DJ at your friends' wedding reception, and then there are the hundreds if not thousands of DJs who simply play music back to back on the radio every day. But there is also a DJ who redefines the meaning of the title by using the turntable as an instrument rather than simply a music player. DJ Krush is this kind of DJ.

Born and raised in Japan, Hideaki Isha's musical influences began with a culmination of traditional Japanese instruments, the blunt and fashionable James Brown, and the cool jazz of Miles Davis. After giving up his aspirations to be part of the Japanese Mafia, the infamous Yakuza, he found himself drawn to the hip hop culture of the West. After seeing a live performance in a Tokyo shopping mall where the turntable was depicted as a musical instrument, Isha rushed to the nearest shop and purchased a turntable and mixer. It was at this moment that he began the unique musical endeavor known as turntablism. He shared his fresh mixes with some with friends who began referring to him as Krush, and it just stuck.

Although hip hop music can essentially be linked back to a few albums like the Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight released more than 10 years prior to 1990, the mixes that Krush had begun to perform live in Japan around this time were altogether new. Turntablism was to be officially defined 5 years later but at this moment in history Krush was ahead of the game inventing his brand of instrumentation and the resulting moody acid jazz hip hop that would influence the world over.

94 marked the year of DJ Krush's first official release on James Levelle's Mo' Wax and would jump start the trip hop genre, and his subsequent perfection of it over the next 6 years. The traditional instruments that were apparent but not fully emphasized on earlier recordings were emerging as the most emphasized compositional element. This shift can be heard in the 2001 release Zen and further confirmed in both 2003's Message at the Depth and 2004's Jaku. This brilliantly orchestrated and expansive new realm left little to no room for the rugged hip hop structure that many had become accustomed to.

Although Krush has already released an impressive 12 album catalog that has successfully crossed genres left and right, and countless remixes and singles, his latest "Best of" seems like more a push from record labels rather than from his own desire to bring back old songs to a new audience. Krush's answer to the record industries formulaic solution to failing record sales is to do what he knows better than anyone else -- remix! Reinventing these old songs with a new spin, Stepping Stones is a double album that is not essential but for some newbies may be a good window into Krush's signature style and hopefully lead them to seek out his previous releases.

DJ Krush is currently on tour in support of Stepping Stones and once again he'll be making a stop by the Mezzanine, Friday, September 29th at 9pm. Tickets are $20.