Name of Album: The Message at the Depth
Ratings: Personal - 3 General - 3
Release Date: 01/28/03
As per the press release, Japanese DJ Krush's newest release, The Message At The Depth, is aptly described as "a chilling piece of abstract hip-hop." Subsequently, even after noting that his last album Zen was chosen as the "Best Dance Album of 2001" by the American Federation of Independent Music, it remains difficult to assess the commercial value of the record, as anything abstract rarely is defined monetarily during its time. If there exists worth, it is one accounted for as a curiosity in the used bin of Rasputin's or Kim's, or some local dj's experimental stack of sounds.
The first track, Trihedron, is reminiscent of the earliest days of electronica when pioneers were playing around with the Theremin and various kitchen appliances as instruments. Track two Toki No Tabiji, is quite interesting and has redeeming value for djs looking to entertain the hip jet-set who are easily amused by listening to something that they have no clue is all about. Japanese rapper Inden presents a rocket-speed trip of the tongue on this second track which reminds me of French gangster rap and the Mexican rap group Control Machete, which was recently featured on the awesome Amores Perros soundtrack.
Sanity Requiem throws the listener back into the anything-goes mode presented in the opening track, and I am kind when I say it is cacophonous. The next song, Supreme Team, is not any more euphonious as it features the Anti-Pop Consortium who are a motley crew of rappers improvising non-sense in English.
The Blackhole is another instrumental piece for a horror movie, and therefore forfeits any chance of widespread popularity. Song for John Walker is a black-angst message rapped in a Jungle Brothers like swath of music.
Beginning with Track 8, Krush finally provides something I did not mind listening to through to the end. Alephevo introduces Angelina Esparza who reminds me of an English version of the sultry sensation Ely Guerra from Mexico. DJ Krush provides a sensual backdrop draped with acoustic guitar riffs, and a gentle percussion that drives Esparza's salacious pleading, asking us to do more than just listen.
Track 9, The Last Voices, featuring Sly & Robbie, also begins to make up for all the venting Krush apparently had to subject us to before getting down to the business of making music. Voices is primarily an instrumental which mixes an alluring moan, an Arabian flute and a few other quirky gimmicks all served on a reggae-like backbeat that reminds me of UB40's Too Many Rivers To Cross. Track 10, But the World Moves On, an electronic acid-jazz piece does no harm in this trend towards the album's redemption, for it is interesting to say the least and more than tolerable at most.
Finally, What About Tomorrow rides The Message onto my play-again shelf, and not into the crowded dust-bin with all the other rejects. Featuring reggae artist Abijah, this concluding track is the mellowest Krush has to offer and is a smart way to end an album which begins by testing one's complacency, tastes and tolerance.
Favorite Song: Alephevo (look out for featured chanteuse Angelina Esparza!)