09
Nov
08

DJ Shadow – Endtroducing

endtroducing

When I’m not out saving the universe, I work at a photolab as a mild mannered retoucher.  Pretty much every event that comes though gets retouched by me, and over the course of the years I can honestly say I’ve seen it all.  From pirate themed weddings to random naked “art”.

So anyhow, the other day I came upon a photo of a woman with a mustache….and not a little one.  I would put it somewhere between John Waters and Magnum PI, and dark enough to be noticeable from across the street. The kicker was that she had a matching goatee that was just starting to come in too. 

Everyone I showed it to seemed convinced she was a man dressed as a woman, but I can’t imagine any self respecting cross dresser or trannie walking out in public looking like that.  Which begs the question, does she know she has a mustache?  I can’t imagine that if someone in my family had a thick dark mustache growing in that I wouldn’t say something.

Maybe something like “Hey, what’s up with the mustache?”

Or maybe she likes it…or has a husband with a facial hair fetish who insists that she keep it.  Either way, I end up disturbed.

Why can’t I un-see these kind of things?

Moving on this week, I’ve decided to include what is perhaps on of my favorite hip hop albums of all time, DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing.”  I know this piece of art is now pretty well known, but it wasn’t always so…and that remains part of it’s charm.  With his first album, Shadow dropped what would be the first in a series of what I call sonic grenades…mostly because there seems to be a time delay between when he drops something and when the rest of the population “get’s it.

That being said, if you ever want to get a glimpse of what the next level looks like, you can always pick up whatever DJ Shadow has recently done.  Just don’t sleep on it.

Josh “DJ Shadow” Davis was born in Davis, California and was obsessed with music from an early age…and he’s as pure a DJ you could ever hope to find.  He spent years digging through the dusty shelves at his local record store (like the one on the cover) and was soon rewarded with access to the store’s now legendary basement.  Digging through stacks of records that often reached the ceiling,  Josh began to develop an ear for the obscure and a respect for the music that most would throw away.  His first recordings reflected they style of the late 80s and early 90s era, with a distinct slant towards something that was undefinable at the time.  Something different.

His first real gig was at the UC Davis radio station KDVS and he began to explore a more experimental style and jazz infused ethic that would soon become the hallmark of his work.  After a few releases on Hollywood Records, he was contacted by Mo Wax label head James Lavelle who wanted to release his next 12″  ‘In/Flux’ on his label.  It was the move to Mo Wax that signaled the the real cohesion of the DJ Shadow sound.  The single was an underground hit, although made little waves in the mainstream. 

At least for the time being. 

Shadow’s work was never about appealing to the mainstream anyway, but the sound he had created would have far reaching repercussions that are still being felt in the music world today.  He started work on “Entroducing” soon after the success of ‘In/Flux’ and dropped it at the tail end of 1996.  Working entirely from sampled music, Davis put the whole thing together on an old MPC60. 

But it’s not just the sampling…it’s the quality of the samples, the random excursions into psychedelia and jazz, the sparse vocals and snippets of dialog from “Prince of Darkness,” and the adhesion to the core beliefs of hip hop that make this truly one of the greatest exercises the human ear had ever experienced.  Like the dialog implies, the album seems to be a broadcast from the future.  A future where music hasn’t gotten dumber…but advanced to near genius level. 

I could seriosly go on for hours about how much I love this shit…but I have to sleep sometimes. So go feed your ears.

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