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Stepping Stones - The Self-Remixed Best

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Album Review

After a dozen years of releasing unique beats, warped turntablist constructions, and hip-hop that's subterranean yet somehow connected to the genre's golden age, Japanese turntablist and producer DJ Krush released a remixed "best of" that offers a snapshot of his career for newcomers while giving longtime fans some new angels on tracks they've most likely devoured by now. Some numbers are drastically remixed, some are lightly dusted, but overall it seems he worked really hard on making Stepping Stones flow and hang together, quite the accomplishment considering any Krush construction can pull from any number of genres on its own. The double CD — which was originally released as two separate CDs in Japan — is divided into a "Lyricism" disc, which features the producer with one risk-taking vocalist after another, and a "Soundscapes" disc focusing on the instrumental side of the man, with appearances by his American counterpart DJ Shadow and pianist Ken Shima. While the Shadow team-up is a fascinating, choreographed stumble through film music, cocktail jazz, and ominous electronica, it's the otherworldly folding Krush does to Shima's piano that makes "Stormy Cloud" one of the most rewarding tracks on the whole collection. Fan favorite "Kemuri" gets a light rework that softens some of its punch, making this formerly beatbox driven track sound sinister and lurking in the corners. This darker, somewhat detached attitude also figures into the new touches Krush has put on the "Lyricism" disc — check how "Final Home" with Esthero sounds more "late night" than ever — but what's amazing is how supportive the man can be without surrendering his own style, especially surprising when you consider these cuts are now "re-imagined." Collabos are everywhere in above- and underground hip-hop, but Krush really nails the "working together to create something new" thing better than most, proving he's not just gifted but smart, and not just a music producer but a music fan. The high-grade lyrics brought by Mos Def, Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, and practically everyone else makes choosing the highlights of this disc even harder. If you want to be instantly blown away by what Krush has to offer, check the more aggressive Holonic: The Self Megamix collection from 1998. If you really want a proper, right-sized introduction, Stepping Stones is the way to go.

Customer Reviews

Most Excellent

DJ Krush will make your children throw furniture...

All of his best works remixed

How can you go wrong? Sure some of the originals are better... But this album feels like it's its own entity, completely fresh and original... Standouts Include Duck Chase, Drum, and Bypath which is much longer than the original (thankfully). By far my favorite is the Stormy Cloud's Raindrop Mix... Reminds me of elements from the book Godel Escher Bach, where a composition is at times completely flipped unto itself.

Krush kills it again

No matter how you like your beats. Krush can serve them in a variety of ways. Doin it over a decade strong, he still brings creative, inovative, and mind-blowing beats to the table without forgetting his roots. Hip Hop, Downtempo, Drum&Bass, instrumental, or w/ vocals, its all here. Some of his classics are remixed(SHADOW,MOSDEF,BLACKTHOUGHT)26 songs for $10.

Biography

Born: 1962 in Tokyo, Japan

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Japanese turntablist and producer DJ Krush is one of the few island-nation throw-ups to be embraced by the global hip-hop world. Releasing material through Sony in Japan, Mo'Wax and Virgin in the U.K., and Axiom, Shadow, and A&M in America, Krush's heady brand of experimental, (largely) instrumental hip-hop has been praised by everyone from hardcore underground hip-hop 'zines like The Bomb to the speckless offices of Rolling Stone and Spin. Beginning as a bedroom DJ in the mid-'80s following...
Full Bio
Stepping Stones - The Self-Remixed Best, DJ Krush
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