Some records grow in reputation over the years, even the ones that are raved about on release. DJ Shadow’s Entroducing… is one of them. I listened to it loads in the months and years after its release but haven’t played it end to end for years. It is a monument to one man’s obsession (record collecting, obscure samples, building an album by using pretty much nothing but an Akai MPC60, a Technics SL-1200 turntbale and a tape recorder) and has probably become a bit of a millstone around its creators neck. I listened to it again recently, after Ctel posted a remix of Midnight In A Perfect World, and said he wasn’t such a big fan of it. On this occasion I have to disagree (and Ctel is often right in these things). I can’t find any reason to suggest that it is anything other than a stunningly inventive piece of work. Midnight… is based around a sampled drum beat and a David Axelrod piano sample and doesn’t sound twenty years old at all. When the album finishes it almost forces you to turn it over and start again.

Midnight In A Perfect World

Lonely Soul

DJ Shadow and James Lavelle spent ages putting together Psyence Fiction, a guest vocalist heavy post-hip hop album in 1998, packaged beautifully by Mo Wax. It was long, it was a kind of 90s psychedelia, it was a bit overwrought and it was a bit over-worked. Some of the tracks pulled it off though. This one with The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft managed it- those portentous strings at the end sound both over-the-top and rather good.

Lonely Soul

Midnight In A Perfect World

Nothing says 1996 musically to me quite as much as DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing. Someone said to me a little while ago that what this album needed was an MC, someone rapping all over those perfect urban innerspace soundtracks. I could not agree. This song is particularly good, a headphones classic.

Midnight In A Perfect World

Liquid Amber

Drew had DJ Shadow’s Dark Days at his place this week. Almost the same day I got an email from DJ Shadow’s people pointing me towards his new stuff at Bandcamp.

There are three songs on the e.p. on his new label Liquid Amber, two new and a remix. Ghost Town is recognisably Shadow- spooky piano, hip hop influences- but with a pretty frantic beat, inspired by future bass. Mob is a headnodder. Six Days (Machinedrum remix) is a mash of bass, soul vocals and drum machine and is really good, my favourite of the three. While he may never recapture the heights of his mid 90s work, or the acclaim, all three are worth having a look at.

More Shadow

Here’s that second new DJ Shadow track, the A-side called Death Surounds Us. Electro to the fore, up front dnb drums and a huge breakdown around the five minute mark. Very good and very noisy.

DJ Shadow – Def Surrounds Us- b-w -I’ve Been Trying – 01 Def Surrounds Us.mp3 – 4shared.com – online file sharing and storage – download

Hi Kitten, This One’s For You

I got an email earlier from DJ Shadow (not him personally I suppose), offering a free download of two tracks that have been doing the rounds as very expensive white labels. Both are tasters for next year’s as yet untitled album. The A-side is an ‘electro/dubstep/dnb-inspired epic’ called Def Surrounds Us, and the press release description does it justice. This is the B-side, I’ve Been Trying, ‘an intricately crafted, soulful jam that goes down like molasses’. True also- this is a brilliant track. When I can free up some bandwidth I’ll post the A-side, but I’m sure you’lll be able to find it elsewhere if you have a look around.

DJ Shadow – Def Surrounds Us- b-w -I’ve Been Trying – 02 I’ve Been Trying.mp3