DJ Shadow – Endtroducing… – Review

DJ Shadow

Endtroducing… (ffrr/ London)
by Joshua Brown

Bands have always created their original product by piecing together influential visions from the past and funneling them through their own imaginations. Just what exactly these influential visions once were is often anybody’s guess. Incompetence, incontinence, and needy and greedy egos can blur and distort the true voice of the shared passion that lives inside each and every lover of music. Musicians who work with samplers don’t only substantiate the cliche that “the whole is equal to more than the sum of its parts.” They are also the objects of jealousy and misdirected anger coming from people who believe that music shouldn’t be that “easy” to make.

In the movie Trading Places, street hustler Eddie Murphy is dazzled by the jacuzzi in Dan Aykroyd’s penthouse apartment, commenting that he would have had to fart in the tub to produce a similar effect in his destitute childhood home. The problem with the makeshift jacuzzi is that no one’s butt can fart as quickly and efficiently nor with as much endurance as a hot tub. One might argue that the “human element” (or, in this case, stench) has been lost in the translation. Why don’t we make a jacuzzi that pumps suspended human farts into the water, then? Or maybe let’s not. Like the computer-animated cast of Toy Story, DJ Shadow‘s sampled relics take on a mind and soul of their own and joust for prominence in the listener’s life. The elongated and elasticized robot voice that weaves itself like a hologram through a haunting bassline in “What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4),” the grainy Hellflower opera of “Building Steam With a Grain of Salt,” the random but essential dialogue snippets from films, and countless other priceless snapshots have already made Endtroducing… a classic.