Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stepping Stones

The Zen master of hip hop DJ Krush is celebrating the first 12 years of his recording career with a 2 disc retrospective. Called Stepping Stones - The Self Remixed Best, it is a bit different from the usual best of due to the fact that he actually remixed everything on it. I have been a longtime fan of Krush, from his self titled debut and his Mo'Wax breakthrough Strictly Turntablized to 2004's 寂 - Jaku. I dig his blunted approach and his heavy duty beats. There is always a bit of Eastern mysticism mixed in with the jazzy samples, and it makes for much head nodding goodness. The CDs are divided thematically - disc 1 is Lyricism, full of the vocal collaborations with C.L.Smooth, Company Flow, Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, Zap Mama, Esthero and Anticon. Disc 2 is called Soundscapes, and the tracks are all instrumentals that also feature several guests, including DJ Shadow and Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson. Today's selections come from the first disc, and feature some of my favorite rappers. Meiso (Silent Gun Mix) features Black Thought & Malik B from The Roots (who have a new LP on the way) and rides a bumping, shuffle-y beat and plenty of atmospheric keys. Shinjiro (Harsh Mix) is a hard ass electro groove featuring a tough rap from Mos Def - somewhat reminiscent of the track I Against I that he did with Massive Attack a few years ago.

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