Listen Up: Wednesday, June27, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
DJ Shadow

The Private Press (MCA)

By Adam Woodyard

It was 1994 when the sample-laced, beat-driven tracks of California’s DJ Shadow began popping up on records over yonder in London, of all places. In describing DJ Shadow’s sound, some clever British writer coined the term “trip-hop,” and the underground world of beats has never been the same.

DJ Shadow’s first full-length solo c.d. since 1996 (he’s been on more compilations than you can shake a needle at), The Private Press, is a trip down memory lane on some haze-inducing drug. Like dub, and the trip-hop that did come before it, everything old is new again. Scatting jazz rhythms, rap beats, and other undefinable but eerily familiar pulsating tones come together to create a mood that can only be described as DJ Shadowian. “Fixed Income” pumps a bassline straight into your noggin while a slow groove twists and huffs through your speakers like a fat man on a pogo stick. “You Can’t Go Home Again” also features some really incredible mix work, featuring guitar, piano, and what sounds like a sample from the closing credits of a kung fu movie. It slingshots from China to the most distant reaches of outer space — and back — in about six minutes.

The vibe, for lack of a better word, which remains so specific but forever out of reach from track to track, actually reflects the mood of the listener more than it gives up anything about the 23-year-old DJ, born Josh Davis. If this is what those wacky Brits were talking about when they made a big stink about this ethereal new sound, it’s definitely worth at least a listen.


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