Jaku, the latest offering from Japanese hip-hop export DJ Krush, seems to lose something in translation. Maybe it's the way Shuuzan Morita's otherworldly shakuhachi flute contributions make Krush's beats sound lifeless and flat -- a problem Krush never had when he paired with the smoky trumpeting of Toshinoro Kondo on their 1999 duet, Ki-Oku. Or it might be the way Aesop Rock had to tame his manic, polysyllabic flow to match the syrupy tempo of Krush's beats on "Kill Switch."
It should be irrelevant when Krush sets to work behind the turntables at Peabody's; his last stop in town, a 2001 appearance at the Funky Buddha, showed that his talents shine brightest on the decks. While he accented his track selection with dusky trumpet and saxophone samples, he mostly let the throbbing beats and bottomless bass lines speak for themselves. There was minimal turntable trickery involved: Krush just stacked one gyrating groove upon the next, paradoxically setting a hypnotized crowd in motion, despite the meditative hip-hop pace of the beats. It must be an Eastern thing.