Stepping Stones - The Self-Remixed Best is a best-of with a twist. DJ Krush, Japan's innovator of hip-hop/trip-hop/electronica has chosen his favourite 26 tracks from his impressive back catalogue and re-mixed them into a duel themed double album and the results are stunning.


Krush (real name Hideaki Ishii) began dabbling in turntablism and hip-hop in Japan in the 80s, before Japan had even a hip-hop scene. He was so inspired by the depiction of hip-hop music and lifestyle in the film "Wild Style" in the early 80's he tracked down turntables from salespeople that had never heard of the concept of mixing. In 1987 he formed Krush Posse before going solo in 1992. His first solo album "Krush" thrust him into the international limelight and since that time he has followed it up with eight more, including 2004's "Jaku" (Krush's instrumental tribute to his Japanese roots). These days, Krush is a DJ and producer with an enviable international reputation. Krush works hard to define the Japanese sound, occasionally incorporating traditional Japanese instruments into his songs and actively discourages the younger generation from simply mimicking the American style of hip-hop.


What he presents here is a two CD package of selected songs from his 13 years as a solo recording artist. Disc 1, titled Lyricism is comprised of collaborations with vocals and raps with some of the genre's finest, including Malic B (The Roots), Mos Def, Zap Mama, Twigy & Rino and Kan. The juxtaposition of Japanese and English lyrics on Lyricism contributes to the atmosphere Krush creates throughout this album, which is one of intrigue and positive energy.


On disc 2 Soundscapes DJ Krush delivers 13 tracks of his finest examples of chilled out beats, including the hit "Kemuri". Collaborators featured on disc 2 include Ken Shima, Opus and DJ Shadow (who features on the on the luscious "Duality"). Listening to Soundscapes is a revitalising experience. Krush is able to create detailed landscapes and imagery while also retaining his distinctive minimalist sound.


Everything about this album exudes class, from the two hours of lush beats, to the impressive artwork with detailed track notes and packaging. DJ Krush is a master and this is some of his finest work.


DJ Krush, Stepping Stones - The Self-Remixed Best is out now and available through Red Label / Sony BMG.

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