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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
DJ Krush
The Message at the Depth
Sony/Red Ink Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Instrumental hip hop is often a hit or miss affair. It can be repetitive and generic, flaccid beats that go on for 5 minutes until you simply stop paying attention. It can also be innovative and moving, quickly darting about from one head nodding space to the next without rest. DJ Krush is a DJ/producer who exemplifies this latter type of beatmaking on his latest effort, The Message at the Depth, a successful tour de force that entails only a few minor misses among the hot shit that prevails.

The album is full of guest appearances, some highly effective and some that are really unnecessary. Things get off to a running start with the three-part "Trihedron", an exercise that Krush has played with on previous albums, featuring members of Opus helping out with production. The beats on this trifecta odyssey range from low key bass blips to straight hip hop to spacey atmosphere head excursions all in the same song. Some of the better pairings include the appearance of the Japanese MC Inden, who spits Nippon rhymes over the thugged out computer blitz of "Toki No Tabiji", and the fierce and logical stylings of the late and sometimes great Anti-Pop Consortium who lace the circus rap beats of "Supreme Team." Krush manages to give their sometimes cold and internal flow some heart with his abstract hip hop flare. The current political and social situation of the world in these uncertain and color coded times is dealt with on the record, as Krush himself maintains; "Since recording my last album, Zen, the world we live in has changed dramatically. It has made me think: what is truth to each of us in this world?" The Anticon crew, never one of my favorites group of MCs, attempts to deconstruct some truth as they tackle the enigma of the American Taliban in "Song for John Walker" through their esoteric wordplay over equally esoteric beat construction. Sly and Robbie have a guest spot on the dubby "The Last Voices" in which Robbie's bass twirls around the bubbling Krush production. But it is in his instrumental passages where Krush comes into his own. "The Blackhole" is one of the best tracks, clocking in at 9 minutes as drum and bass and stutter-step snares jab the track with a knifes edge in mathematical formations. There are also some unfortunate acid jazz moments, as the weak "But the World Moves On" attempts some early 90s space jazz interpretations.

DJ Krush has worked with some of hip hop's best and brightest, The Roots, Mos Def, Shawn J. Period, CL Smooth, Company Flow and DJ Shadow all having graced his studio wizardry. The Message at the Depth is certainly a continuation of Krush's constant mission to elevate beat production while keeping some of the grimy essence of the non-ice rockin hip hop. This effort floats into some more abstract territory since the days of past albums such as Meiso and Zen, but still maintains the vision he has developed since viewing Wild Style in the early 80s. At its core, it is straight up hip hop.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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