Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Less You Know About DJ Shadow, The Better

DJ Shadow is a bit of a legend, not only in his own mind, but in the minds of anyone who has ever crate dug, produced, sampled, or just loved records. His first album Endtroducing was a groundbreaking earth shattering record that raised the bar on so many levels that it's difficult to even calculate. Fifteen years later, Shadow is still going strong and while he's diversified his sound a bit he's never lost sight of what made him who he his. That's what makes his latest album The Less You Know The Better so intriguing.

The Less You Know The Better opens up with a four song blast of diversity/weirdness that will leave you scratching your head and questioning whether or not you are actually listening to DJ Shadow. As if to make that point, in the course of the first four songs Shadow covers instrumental hip hop, normal hip hop, thrash, and even a bluesy ballad . The Less You Know The Better makes a bold statement very quickly that it refuses to be pigeonholed or filed away into a neat subgenre. Heck, by the sixth song, he gets in touch with his inner goth.

It's fairly obvious after one listen that DJ Shadow's productions haven't slipped a bit in his fifteen year career and each of the songs here is packed with samples you'll never be able to find, breaks producers would kill for, and hooks that are huge. The guy has had the knack forever and judging by The Less You Know The Better he doesn't seem to be even remotely close to losing it. This is a brilliant album that's kind of scatter-shot and so diverse it's hard to keep track of. While that might sound like a recipe for a messy record he makes this journeyman approach work. Shadow is unafraid of any sound and you can tell that as he's gotten older, he's become more open minded to the idea of having a huge palette of sound at his disposal.

The Less You Know The Better may not be as classic as Endtroducing but it's very good. With sound collages coming in from every direction and a variety of vocals Shadow creates a record where nothing sounds alike and everything is an influence. The result is a record that's a varied journey through DJ Shadow's record collection and production software; a journey that will leave you in awe.

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