Stepping Stones: The Self-Remixed Best
Red Int / Red Ink
· A re-imagining of DJ Krush.
Unwilling, or perhaps unable, to simply release a collection of his best work from the past 12 years, DJ Krush decides to complicate things and re-imagine his finest tracks in the form of a two-disc self-remixed set. Rather than just looking back, Krush decides to move things forward.
Krush Japans answer to DJ Shadow has been on the cutting edge of hip-hop for more than a decade. He, along with the London-based MoWax label, made sure that trip-hop didnt become just a fad hip-hop offshoot. He opened North America to the idea of global hip hop by exposing the world to MCs such as Rino and DJ/producers such as DJ Cam. He collaborated with burgeoning experimental artists Company Flow, Anticon and Mr. Lif before they had much of a following, and he hooked up with hip-hop heavyweights such as C.L. Smooth, Black Thought and Mos Def, often displaying their familiar talents in a different light.
Stepping Stones is a reminder to those who know Krushs work of just how influential his detached, minimal, down-tempo beats and subtle cuts have been. For those unacquainted with this visionary, tthe album is one giant stepping stone to the rest of Krushs prolific catalogue.
Divided into two discs, Lyricism (a collection of vocal collaborations) and Soundscapes (remixed instrumental tracks), Stepping Stones captures the best of both of Krushs worlds. "Vision of Art (Broken Mix)" featuring Company Flow, originally on the 2001 album Zen, is a fresh ride with pulsing keys that is custom made for El-Ps flow. As remixes, most of the tracks on Stepping Stones are nearly unrecognizable from their originals except for the fact Krush injects subtle cornerstones as if to remind the listener of the track that came before.
Sadly, Stepping Stones doesnt include any remixes of Krushs work with trumpeter Toshinori Kondo from the album Ki-Oku. But the track "Days End (After-dusk Mix) offers a glimpse into how smoothly Krush can suit a beat to a composer, in this case Kazufumi Kodama, as he can suit a beat to an MC.