DJ Krush
Kakusei


4.5
superb

Review

by Adash USER (43 Reviews)
December 21st, 2010 | 18 replies | 7,527 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tokyo Ghost Stories

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

On a soiled street corner, framed against a cracked grey canvas, a dark silhouette is splashed across a dull and unresponsive wall. Glowing embers fall from the darkness, burning momentarily before vanishing, like shooting stars fleeing across a drab and indifferent infinity. From the depths of space a hollow sound echoes through the trembling air; guttural coughs that tear apart the fragile silence of the dawn. With immense effort, the shadowy outline tears itself away from the wall, leaving behind indistinct stains that waver before melting away slowly under the gaze of the blinking sun. Suddenly, footsteps ring out. Its 6AM, and DJ Krush is heading home.

Hideaki Ishi, one of the major pioneers of the trip hop genre, is arguably the best known DJ to hail from Japan, and the only musician from the island to have been fully embraced by the global hip hop community. For the last twenty years, he has been one of the key figures in the country’s fast evolving electronic scene, earning much critical acclaim due to the high quality of his releases as well as his willingness to collaborate with myriad talented artists from around the world.

If any criticism can be levelled at him, it’s that his works can occasionally suffer from fragmentation due to haphazard structure; rapping would appear on one track and then be discarded in favour of instrumental interludes, before more vocals were suddenly strewn over the proceedings by a radically different emcee. For the most part, the songs themselves were great, but much too often this modus operandi lent some of his albums a chaotic air; they seemed more like a collection of splintered singles than definitive and homogenous artistic statements.

Therefore it comes as no small relief that Kakusei, a few samples aside, is a consistent, cohesive and almost entirely instrumental affair. Besides giving it that all important sense of unison, the lack of vocals also allows the listener to focus exclusively on the beats; fortunately, it precisely here that Krush and his motley crew of guest musicians excel.

As one would expect, lo fi percussion features predominantly, reverberating continuously over the LP’s hour long running length, like echoing footsteps treading purposefully through shadow stained alleyways. Steam rises slowly above the grimy surroundings in the form of a solitary string of piano notes or a few trembling bass arpeggios; these are sounds that are sometimes somnolent, often melancholy and always quietly beautiful. It takes multiple listens to appreciate the extreme subtlety at work here; inconspicuous and at times seemingly insignificant flakes of sound fall like tears from the face of the sad and bleary eyed statue that rests on top of the slowly resonating beat pedestal. For the most part, the effect is absolutely stunning.

The Dawn, a saxophone driven soundtrack to early morning wandering through deserted, despondent streets, sums up the album perfectly; this is the enigmatic language of a waking metropolis: the tremulous whisper of the early morning breeze carrying the throaty murmur of distant traffic through the cracks in the concrete of grey and dejected buildings.

Perhaps Kakusei can best be described as music for kicking tins cans around city streets; the musical equivalent of an act that’s a little bit capricious, a little bit antisocial, yet at the same time overflowing with irresistible waves of dark thought and reflection. Arguably Krush’s finest moment, and undoubtedly his greatest artistic statement; Kakusei is essential listening, even outside of the grimy confines of trip hop.



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user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Adash
December 21st 2010



1356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Don't make me repeat my Amon Tobin odyssey and review Krush's entire discography

PuddlesPuddles
December 21st 2010



4765 Comments


This needed a review, thanks

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 21st 2010



30873 Comments


Album's fucking awesome

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Zettel
December 21st 2010



582 Comments


That intro was great. Solid review.

My friend, have you heard Jega's Variance? I have been wanting to write a review for it since last year, but I never come to do it. I have the feeling you are going to deeply appreciate it.

pizzamachine
December 21st 2010



12571 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aw yeah, this album.

dreamobile
December 21st 2010



416 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i mean, he's a former Yakuza turned DJ. How cool can you get?

SoapySoap
December 21st 2010



865 Comments


I just recently got my hands on this album, and Jaku not too long ago. I loved Jaku. Hopefully this turns out to be as good.

Manic_
December 22nd 2010



447 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Much needed review, album rules, review is great too.

Adash
December 22nd 2010



1356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks for the love lads

Zettel: I'll check out Variance and maybe review it before you..: ]

p.s. new krush album out soon, hopefully it'll be something like this

aok
May 3rd 2011



4294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not quite sure just how much i like this yet, but my friend was spinning nas a few seats away and it got me thinking how a few of nas' best raps on untitled would be muchh better if they were set to these beats rather than the shit he was rapping on top of over there

Adash
May 12th 2011



1356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ironically, I believe that this is Krush' best work because it doesn't feature rapping

darnielle
May 12th 2011



221 Comments


could never get into this guy.

aok
May 12th 2011



4294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not quite enough happening here for me to really take off with. still quite good though

Yotimi
November 19th 2012



6441 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this grew off me massively. couldn't believe how boring it was on my recent listen

ethos
November 7th 2013



1743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wow i thought i was the only one BUT THEN IT GREW ON ME

Yotimi
November 7th 2013



6441 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I liked this for a while and then one day it just stopped working. Been a while, i'll prob spin it again eventually

ethos
November 7th 2013



1743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

that happens to me with a lot of albums lol, totally understandable
didn't actually enjoy this until like a few days ago

Phlegm
June 19th 2014



3843 Comments


:-)

Digging: Hey Mother Death - Highway



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