Record Review - 3 March 05 2003

Anxious and unsettled, DJ Krush's sixth "solo" release is a post-9-11 album of dissent and descent, parts of which comprise Krush's most compelling work to date.

Where the beats of 2001's Zen were more rounded and rolling, the percussion on Shinsou's first seven tracks — especially the centerpiece "Blackhole" — pings and pecks. That's not saying it's gentle. Rather, the crunchy cascades are more metallic — closer to the jumpy, tinny work of laptop producers El-P or the Neptunes than Krush groove. The piston patterns sway in swarms, hitting like bare-knuckled body blows. Some are heavyweight, others featherweight — but all flutter and weave as they strike, radiating and recoiling. The beats support seemingly phoned-in flows of a political slant from Anti Pop Consortium and Anticon, though one exception is "Toki No Tabiji (Journey of Time)," featuring Japanese MC Inden's boastful, barrel-chested air.

But after a crisp one-minute interlude, Shinsou returns to more familiar forms. The last four tracks come off as increasingly blunted, from the sultry jitter of "Alepheuo (Truthspeaking)" (featuring vocalist Angelina Esparza), to the tabla-heavy jazz fusion of "But the World Moves On," to "What About Tomorrow" (a dusky dub featuring Abijah, whose roots riddim draws comparison to Horace Andy's work with Massive Attack).

Trading Zen's gauzy melodies for motorized grind, Krush has made an album on edge and on point.

DJ Krush spins at eleven50 Tues., March 11.