DJ KRUSH & TOSHINORI KONDO

KI-OKU

  1/  Toh-Sui                                    (Kondo,DJ Krush)              4.57
  2/  Tobira-1                                   (Kondo,DJ Krush)              0.35
  3/  Mu-Getsu                                   (Kondo,DJ Krush)              6.19
  4/  Ha-Doh                                     (Kondo,DJ Krush)              5.24
  5/  Sun Is Shining                             (Bob Marley)                  6.52
  6/  Mu-Chu                                     (Kondo,DJ Krush)              6.28
  7/  Tobira-2                                   (Kondo,DJ Krush)              0.45
  8/  Fu-Yu                                      (Kondo,DJ Krush)              4.56
  9/  Ki-Gen                                     (Kondo,DJ Krush)              4.40
  10/ Ko-Ku                                      (Kondo,DJ Krush)              5.23
  11/ Shoh-Ka                                    (Kondo,DJ Krush)              4.39
  12/ Bu-Seki                                    (Kondo,DJ Krush)              4.58
  13/ Tobira-3                                   (Kondo,DJ Krush)              0.44

          Recorded and mixed at Metal Box
          Recorded and mixed by Shuichi Ikebuchi (Ambient 7)
          Track 5 mixed at Show On Studio, by Koichi "Oppenheimer" Matsuki
          Produced by Toshinori Kondo and DJ Krush
          Executive Producers: Masahito Kitayama, Noriko Asano, Yuki Noda
          Associate Producer: Naohiko Yamada
          Mastered by Masayo Takise at Tokyo CD Center
Toshinori Kondo: acoustic and electric trumpet; DJ Krush: beats, programming and scratches.

          1996 - Sony (Japan), XDJS 93207 (Promo 2x12")
          1996 - Sony (Japan), SRCD 8093 (CD)
          1998 - Apollo (Belgium), AMB 8949 LP (2x12")
          1998 - Apollo/PIAS (France), AMB 8949 CD/516.9549.20 (CD)
          1998 - Apollo/R&S Records (Belgium), AMB 8949 CDX (CD)
          1999 - Instinct Records (USA),  EX-408-2  (CD)
Note: Track 10 contains uncredited samples of Material's "Mantra" and "Reality".


REVIEWS :

I get a late night call from Cecil, telling me about this new release by Krush and Kondo. I show up at his desk the next day with the disc in hand--standard operating procedure for the two of us. He sez: "How long have you had this?" (Also a regular exercise we go through). I say: six months. He: "You never told me?" I point out February's Profiles. That shuts him up for awhile.

Later, when I'm back at his desk with my Evil Secretary, Sonja, this conversation ensues:

Cecil: "I've seen the bar. I know what you're capable of and you wimped on us." Sonja: "Are you saying he's limp?" Cecil: "On this one, he went limp."

Obviously the phrase "Best Album" isn't clear enough for Cecil, so let's try this instead. It's Sunday. The sun is actually shining here in Seattle. The roads are clogged with families and their dogs, taking the SUVs out to the park. The nurseries and hardware stores are packed with those who've been dying to get out and work on the weed infestations in their yards. Barbecues are getting dusted off and dads are searching for their bottles of lighter fluid. Junior has found his Frisbee. The phrase "bikini wax" has been cropping up in water cooler conversation all week. It was Opening Day of baseball season last week. Hot dogs are starting to find their way back onto menus. People are starting to lay the base of their sunroof tans.

Iím out on my balcony with a pitcher of margaritas, watching all of this activity flash by. My toes are wriggling against the warm slats of the balcony railing. All the windows in my apartment are open. I've got Ki-Oku on the stereo. In a chilled dish on the end table, I've got Hershey's Kisses (with almonds). I'm only going to move once in the next few hours and that is to restart this disc because I forgot to put it on repeat the first time.

Itís nothing more than beats and a horn, yet interwoven with such skill that it becomes more than a simple pairing. It'll infuse your house; the music drawing the sunlight in through the windows. With the opening strain of "Toh- Sui" there is an irresistible urge to simply feel good that you've got nothing planned for today. The lazy bass of "Mu-Getsu" will make your fingers tap against the cold glass of the beverage in your hand. The distant echo of hand drums behind the soft trumpet melody in "Mu-Chu" bleeds the last kinks out of your legs from a long week at the office. The tempo change of "Fu-Yu" will make you think about firing up the barbecue and the interplay between Kondo and Krush's scratching in "Bu-Seki" will make you grab the phone and call some friends, 'cause there's enough room on this barby for everyone.

Ki-Oku wasn't available domestically when I wrote up the profile of DJ Krush in February's issue, and not everyone is as oblivious to the cost of a good disc as I, so I didn't push it that hard. However, now that you can get it here, I'll push a little harder--especially now that the weather has turned warm. Lazy Sunday afternoon music while you lie in the sun. It doesn't get much simpler than this.

Mark Teppo (courtesy of the Ear Pollution website)

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Anyone who remembers trumpeter Toshinori Kondo's work with such thorny avant-gardists as John Zorn, Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, and Peter Brotzmann's Die Like a Dog Quartet may be a bit taken aback by the extreme accessibility of his collaboration with pioneering turntablist DJ Krush. Much of the music on Ki-Oku flirts with smooth-groove jazz ó Kondo's muted trumpet line on "Mu-Getsu" sounds an awful lot like something Chris Botti would play, while the duo's instrumental take on the Bob Marley classic "Sun Is Shining" comes off just a little bit muzak-y. On the other hand, "Ki-Gen" and "Ko-Ku" both find Kondo using synthesized treatments in a way that evokes Jon Hassell's work with Brian Eno, while on the latter DJ Krush layers slightly menacing keyboard washes beneath Kondo's unassuming trumpet lines. This is one of those albums that reveals more with repeated listens; if it sounds too easy at first, listen again ó there's lots of interesting stuff going on beneath what sometimes sounds like a merely pleasant surface.

4 stars out of 5

Rick Anderson (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)