The master of the cut and paste is back and as good as ever. DJ Shadow, the man
who almost single-handedly raised the quality level of the trip-hop genre with his stunning
debut album Endtroducing, has finally released his sophomore album. The Private
Press drops over five years after the debut, but it's not like Shadow has exactly
been laying on the couch eating bonbons and watching Mama's Family reruns. In
those five years, he's put together a compilation of his early work (Preemptive Strike),
worked with Mo' Wax founder James Lavelle on their U.N.K.L.E.
collaboration, as well as working on projects on his own Quannum label. But enough of the
past. This is the present.
Private Press is DJ Shadow through and
through, featuring tons of old hip-hop vocal samples, phat beats borrowed from rare groove
records (Shadow recently moved to Marin County in California to be closer to
Village Music, a record store known for its huge vinyl collection) and a ton of ingenuity.
Sounding like he dumped an entire record collection in a huge Cuisinart and got his grind
on, the album has many standout moments, including the dark synth-laced stylings of "Fixed
Income," the phat vocal hip-hop that is "Mashin' On The Motorway," the breakbeat-tastic
"Right Thing/GDMFSOB," the soundtracky "Mongrel Meets His Maker" and my personal
fave, the new wave-influenced "You Can't Go Home Again." Most bands take any length of
time off and they turn to crap; Shadow took off five years from solo recording and
hasn't lost a step. Talk about being good at keeping time...