DJ Krush is an old-school mix-master DJ from Japan with a singular and muscular sound—some call it abstract hip-hop, but it is overall a slow or dopey atmospheric and mostly instrumental lusciousness culled from rare-groove jazz, and other genres of American black music with a mellow groove.
Krush’s real name is Hideaki Ishi (born 1962), and he has been a well-known record producer and DJ since the 1990s, in parallel with the era of trip-hop (Ninja Tune) and his peer, New York’s DJ Spooky.
Some could say that this was the era of club DJs at the top of their game, artists handling vinyl like frenzied lab scientists, so for those who had the pleasure of seeing DJ Krush close-up in action back then, he was like a Master sushi-chef handling and flipping records with finesse and speed unlike any others.
Unfortunately, now Krush is using computer like everyone else, so this visual treat is an artifact.
On tracks with vocals, Krush collaborates mostly with the smoothest American rappers on the scene, from Mos Def, Guru, or DJ Shadow.
Soundscapes with urban American poetics in deep and hazy beats is the main treat for Krush, but then he also includes fiery Japanese rappers for delightful contrasts.
DJ Krush’s most recent album (and his 10th overall) “Kiseki” was released in 2017. It has an industrial and futuristic touch that reveals that as an artist he has evolved with the technology and the times; it also has fragments of Japanese folk music, which would have never been incorporated before; yet, however, the core of DJ Krush’s music is still rooted in a tough groove that is timeless and invincible.
There is another important layer that overlaps all of the recordings and performances of DJ Krush; this is his positivity, reminiscent of the earliest hip-hop era of Tribe Called Quest. Krush equals good vibes.
DJ Krush has performed in Prague many times, and mostly in recent visits he plays at Lucerna Music Bar. His powerful sound can be overwhelming for that venue’s speaker system, but he’ll be worth it.
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