is a 2001 album by DJ Krush
. And lest you
think the name means just another clueless wanker jumping on an
oh-so-trendy bandwagon, bear in mind that not only was DJ Krush
born Hideaki Ishii
, but the zen
in question is not
but 漸, glossed "steadily
; gradually advancing
. (Yup, Japanese
has a lot of homonyms. For example,
department store in Shibuya
is not a clearinghouse
for spiritual enlightenment
, as in this case the zen
written 全, meaning simply "all
" or "everything
Naming issues aside, perhaps the best way to think of 漸 is as a
compilation album, since on every track except the first Krush
another artist, ending up with wildly divergent results.
Track by track:
- Song 1 - The only solo track on the album, a soft, nearly ambient
- Zen Approach featuring Black Thought - Solid but
- Danger of Love featuring Zap Mama - Pure soul, Zap Mama
croons about love and Krush-y sounds are nowhere to be heard.
- Sonic Traveler featuring Tunde Ayaynemi - Hip-hop backed
with traditional Nigerian instruments.
- Duck Chase featuring phonosycographDISK - Spectacularly
bizarre turntablism with Zebraneck of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz.
- Vision of Art featuring Company Flow - CF hitting hard
with lyrics treading the thin line between brilliance and insanity
("afterburn full thrust monks react trackless /
come to confront funk slugs with salt tactics...").
- Day's End featuring Kazufumi Kodama - A mellow beat and
Kazu warbling on a trumpet, nearly jazzy.
- With Grace featuring N'dea Davenport - More soul set
to a massive beat, but on a more melancholy note.
- Candle Chant (A Tribute) featuring BOSS THE MC -
One of the very few decent Japanese rap songs I've heard, telling
the story of a visit to a friend's grave.
- Endless Railway featuring Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson -
- Whutz' Da Solution featuring Kukoo Da Baga Bonez -
A seemingly well-intentioned but fairly annoying rap song
complaining about envy and jealousy.
- ゴクラクチョウ論 (Paradise Bird Theory) featuring Sunja Lee -
A Japanese song ineptly translated to English
"impulse of destruction stems out of solitude and the air
of catastrophe") and sung -- more like read, really -- by an
equally inept speaker. The original lyrics are
included in the CD booklet, but the original song isn't.
With this range it's really quite surprising that the album works at
all, and for most part it does, although I find the last few songs
to be a bit of a letdown. Based on a quick googling it seems
most reviewers agree with this, except that they all disagree about
which songs they don't like! (I also found the
repeated attempts to draw lofty parallels to
the tenets of Zen Buddhism amusing, but I digress...)
Just the same, some of the songs are
absolutely brilliant, and the backdrop of Krush's massive beats
eases even the transitions from (almost) gangster rap to (almost)
light jazz remarkably. In all, I like it, and if you're into
broken beats or hip-hop of any flavor you'll probably agree.