Genre: Electro/Hip-Hop Year: 2004 Country: Japan Official Site: Bandname Details: Tracks & Audio Label: Red Int / Red Ink
For his 8th release, Japanese hip-hop veteran DJ Krush embarks on a mystical journey, a musical exploration of his homeland traditions through exotic melodies and instruments such as shakuhachi (flute) and koto (strings).
The world of Jaku (calm and peace), which is inhabited with instrumentals and downtempo hip-hop tunes is, despite what its title might suggest, filled with shadows, obscurity and evil spirits that seem to haunt you, traveling in the background back and forth, from the left to the right speakers of your stereo.
The CD has an undeniable soundtrack quality, sometimes reminiscent of Ennio Morricone in the 80'sthink the Jean-Paul Belmondo era with "Still Island" "Transition" & "Stormy Cloud", sometimes eerie and menacing ("The Beginning", "Nosferatu", "Road to Nowhere", "Universe") like the score of a Japanese horror movie; for some reason, while listening to the CD, scenes from Ringu 2 came to my mind, which is proof of the success of Krush's thematic endeavor here as the film deals with horror and traditions.
Krush's background might be hip-hop but as his 2001 electronic fueled album Zen attests, his taste for electronicmostly ambient and trip-hopis omnipresent here, providing a discreet foundation to this CD.
The rare authentic hip-hop entries such as "Kill Switch" featuring Aesop Rock, "Nosferatu" with Mr. Lif and "Song 2" are in the vein of Cypress Hill, viciously groovy and dark at the same time.
After listening carefully to Jaku, having taken the time to enter its exotic musical jungle and be enveloped by its magic atmosphere, it would be reductive to refer to Krush as a hip-hop musician, his artistically ambitious work here transcending the genres to create a fascinating piece of music.