Album Review

Broken Bells Vs 伝助 (Den-Suke) – “Broken Bells Breaks Vol. 1” – [Shi-Ra-Nui]

Louie Caliente   1/22/2019   A Library, CD

Jazzy downtempo hip-hop beats and from Japan. Heavy (upright) bass licks, scribbly-scratchy turntables, out-of-place found sounds, and open-faced piano tinkering.

Some of the tracks bust out the beats pretty early on (T3, T5, T10, T11), others patiently allow the beat to arise out of thick abstract musique-concret murkiness (T1, T4, T6), but when it hits, man does it hit. The remaining tracks will absorb you so deep in the electro-orchestral opium soup that you won’t even care that there is no beat (T2, T7, T8, T9).

There’s not a lot of info out there about this release, at least not in English. From what I gather, this is a collaboration between two DJs: Broken Bells Beats (sometimes credited as B.B.B.) and Den-Suke. No idea who B.B.B. is (maybe a reader can help fill in the details). Den-Suke is Keiji Yamabe, owner of Tokyo’s ¿Los Apson? record store. This was released on the Shi-Ra-Nui, active since 1996, but completely unrepresented in the KFJC library (until today).

you heard it 23 times on kfjc! most recently:
Qian says

It is quite unclear whether Broken Bells is another real-life DJ from Shi-Ra-Nui, or just another alias by someone with schizophrenia, since the note on the paper indicates that Broken Bells as "Broken Bells Crew". Those who can be confirmed as real people in Shi-Ra-Nui label are Ruf-Neck Piano - Taro Nijikama (founder of Shi-Ra-Nu), DJ 8ight, and Stone Free a.k.a Akaiwa of Strange Garden.

Some interesting things about the album is that it is influenced by Alan Sondheim's album "Ritual-All-7-70" (ESP Disk, Free Jazz), and Hozan Yamamoto's album "?? (Silver World)" (Japanese Traditional Music, maybe Spiritual Jazz?).

I really recommend every album from Shi-Ra-Nui catalogue. Those are some another-level Instrumental Hip Hop (if people are still willing to use that term on Shi-Ra-Nui works).


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