SATURDAY

A decade after he became Japan’s most formidable hiphop export, DJ Krush still operates in the narrow cultural crease where street beats, film-soundtrack dramatics, and mellow jazz form a mutual admiration society. Though he was directly inspired to hit the decks by ’80s b-boy movies, Krush has since ignored the pull of big-ticket U.S. hiphop, instead making records with a type of Asian cool that sounds more tailored for Banana Republic than Foot Locker. That’s not to say he doesn’t work with American rappers, but those who appear on his work are usually of the cerebral, anti-commercial variety. On his latest disc, Jaku, the guest list includes Def Jux soldiers Mr. Lif and Aesop Rock, but other collaborators—including fellow turntablist Tatsuki, pianist Ken Shima, and Kodo drummer Tetsuro Naito—are Krush’s true homeboys. With those guys shading the songs eastward, Jaku (which means “calm” plus “peace”) is one of the 40-something DJ’s most “Japanese” discs yet. Though Krush’s tracks never offer a direct commentary on his homeland, they do communicate a fleeting sense of order, with human expression always dancing on the edges. Where the average club-music producer would be satisfied with a stylish tone and the right BPM rating, Krush paints in broad, complex strokes. But like any turntable pro, he knows how to lock down a tempo and stick close to hiphop’s core virtues. He performs at 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $20. (202) 393-0930. (Joe Warminsky)