Published Mar 01, 2003Japan's DJ Krush blazed a trail for today's most exciting underground artists, whether it's the Bay Area's wacky Anticon crew or the fatalists in the Def Jux camp. The Godfather of abstract hip-hop still has some tricks left up his sleeve and a large Sunday night crowd greeted his every sonic twitch with resounding approval. The Tokyo-based turntablist built his set slowly, teasing the audience with an opening foray into the ambient realm before dropping the grime-encrusted breaks for which he's best known. Krush's latest LP, Shinsou: The Message at the Depth, marks a return to his cellar-dwelling form after Zen's more optimistic tenor. When he dropped the former's "Trihedron," the crowd's head-nodding turned into pop-locking, as the track's drums of death moved bodies all over the venue. Though he's recently dipped his toes in the digital pool, Krush demonstrated his keen understanding of analog sampledelia, scratching records and tweaking the mix like a man possessed. With the fader placed squarely in the centre, he played a minimal glitch record on one platter and a celestial dub track on the other, thus creating a uniquely German take on a Caribbean form. A world music proponent before world music was cool, Krush took the assembled far afield, mining sounds from the Bronx, Brazil and beyond. During his encore, the DJ rolled out some mellow Zen favourites; "Danger of Love" had the ladies singing along to Zap Mama's smoky canned vocals while "Paradise Bird Theory" reminded us that no one does hip-hop mysticism better than Krush. Cherish him.