Any time you have an artist who can effectively bring together a diverse range of styles and concepts, you know you have found someone special; DJ Krush is that special kind of artist. He is able to beautifully combine hip hop, jazz, jungle, and dub to create dense atmospheres, passionate melodies, and hip swingin’ rhythms. He has such a vast set of styles, however, he stays consistent within the 90-95 BPM hip hop tempo, which allows for a great sense of flow and continuity with his music. When an artist is able to create all of this, the listener is able to go deep into their own mind as they get taken to a far off place within the melodies and atmospheres, while still moving. This juxtaposition between body and mind comes from creativity that only the most talented musicians possess. DJ Krush also uses many organic jungle and tribal sounds, departing from where modern hip hop has taken itself. I was able to hear these sounds on Sunday night at Fortune Sound Club, and I too was transcended to a far off place within the sounds that emanated the air.
Anyone who has ever been to Fortune will know immediately when you enter, there is a strong Asian vibe, along with its location in Chinatown. This vibe was perfect for an artist like DJ Krush who is from Japan and whose music reflects many elements of that culture, a culture we do not get to see every day. This difference in culture, combined with the use of raw organic sounds as opposed to a digital based palate creates the perfect environment for an adventure, because it is new and it is fresh. Even though it was a Sunday night, the crowd was very much involved with the show and there was a great amount of energy within the building. I always find that when music is in a language that I do not understand I have the opportunity to interpret it for myself and create my own meanings, and I think a lot of people were doing that as well, being individuals together. Much of that also had to do with the beat and atmosphere DJ Krush was creating.
The creativity of DJ Krush’s atmosphere’s and mixing of Japanese hip hop is only part of the spectrum, this man is also very creative with his beat arrangements. Hip hop beats by nature have a structure and outline that is followed closely by almost all hip hop producers. DJ Krush is one of the best at pushing that envelope as far as possible without being messy, which creates a certain sense of unpredictability, and there in lies his ability to surprise you. On Sunday night, he surprised me greatly with his use of bass, it was almost reminiscent of dubstep , or at least a cleaner version of early UK jungle style bass. It isn’t too often you hear a really thick wobble bass combined with hip hop, but it is something I see expanding into the future and DJ Krush definitely understands that. He has adapted and evolved with the times, while keeping his traditional sound, again his ability to juxtapose things is inspiring. He received the strongest reactions from the crowd when he incorporated this bass into his mixes, I could tell it was something he had been working on to make his shows more exciting and enjoyable for the modern bass head like me.
All in all it was a very interesting and enjoyable experience, as is anything Fortune puts on. However, this night was special because of the cultural diversity and the perfect synchronicity between Fortune’s overall atmosphere and the atmospheres DJ Krush created. I encourage anyone who is interested in a certain genre of music, hip hop in this instance, to really expand on it and look into what different cultures are doing with it, because music really is universal in its nature. Often we restrict ourselves to the small amount of art the media and society gives us and advertises to us, and a lot of people never do explore and discover the arts of different cultures, DJ Krush is a great example of why it is so important and rewarding to do so.