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243 of 258 found the following review helpful:
The master of aural collage makes his debut. Apr 19, 2004
By Erik Russell Olson
In 1998 I had a crush on a girl named Ellie. On a rainy day we decided on an awkward quasi-date to Rasputin's Records and Blondie's Pizza. I sat down in the passenger seat of her beat-up Accord, she started the engine, and her tape player introduced me to a twinkling piano and hypnotizingly slow breakbeats. The notes fell like raindrops on her windshield, and forever in my mind, that moment, Ellie's perfume, my nervous tension, and DJ Shadow's "Building Steam With A Grain of Salt" were locked inseparably together. Whenever the rain starts to fall -- not a hard rain and not a sprinkle, but a steady, plodding, relentless patter of water on earth -- I think of this song.
Josh Davis, also known as DJ Shadow, makes that kind of impact with the arcane record samples he artfully merges into cohesive, thoughtful, revelatory aural collages. He is obsessed. He digs up sounds you and I have never heard before, and maybe a thing or two we have heard before, and fuses them into some brilliant new heterogeneous dream with the power to stir the subconscious and induce sheer awe.
Once I bought his CD and broke free of the hold that "Building..." had on me, I got accustomed to the other twelve tracks of the album. There were many pleasant surprises. I found "Midnight in a Perfect World" just as addicting as the song that got me hooked in the first place, a loping, seductive, scratch-heavy, impossibly beautiful five minutes and two seconds. "Changeling" was another fast favorite, like a lush sunset after a long summer day. "Stem/Long Stem" creeped me out with pernicious string samples surrounding a single lonely chime. And although it took some time, "Mutual Slump" eventually won me over with its dual personality: crashing percussion and ugly guitar riffs on the one hand, and a mournful, echoing backdrop offset by a shy girl's spoken diary on the other.
Many have already mentioned what an impact this album had on a number of prominent artists such as Moby and Radiohead. DJ shadow's influence has reverberated for several years now in the music industry. But for me, I can only attest to what it did for me when seated next to an unreachable girl, in the midst of my quixotic quest, on a gray and rainwashed early spring afternoon.
It was nothing short of an epiphany.
59 of 64 found the following review helpful:
Reintroducing Endtroducing Jun 16, 2005
This record has been immortalized in the past few years as the crate-diggers and backpackers bible. Every single year, with another list marking the best of the past 10 years, 50 years, and maybe even millenium, Endtroducing has become a musical canon. Whether this allegation is factually true, it has become a canon for an entire generation of people who bought turntables instead of guitars. And rightly so: This disc is THE essential record for sound collages. The rampant sampling of the eighties reached the nineties with such cynicism that with the release of this record changed an entire generation's idea of what a song is supposed to be like. For the youth of today, the music they listen to is inevitably tinged with the influences of this record. DJ Shadow had taken sampling to a point where only keyboards could replicate the intricacy in which he used records.
That being said, Endtroducing stands the test of time, firmly implanting itself in popular cultures lexicon of important records. Endtroducing has far exceeded even the largest expectations: perfect production and album arrangement greeted by overwhelmingly positive reviews and an ever-growing fan base. Some people consider the record an emotional masterpiece, others an aural marthon, and some even think of it as turntablism at its finest. Quite frankly, it is truly the first musically post-modern piece of music in the recording art industry. While certainly neither the first to sample nor investing in a large amount of samples, the direction, focus, and articulation of a generation can be surmised within the record. It is the death and rebirth of the recording industry all at once. Josh Davis captured it perfectly: funk becomes ominous, break-beats become convulsive, instruments are used sparingly, and scratching becomes welcomed. It is a record that cannot be overlooked and cannot be forgotten. Now commemorated in this deluxe edition, we finall get to look at Shadow from the lens by which he viewed the parts that made up his record: antiques destined to die unless someone revives them.
The second disk of redos and remixes is like butter on toast. It may not be the most essential thing to have yet it grants further insight into the scope and variety this record can/would represent. From the decidedly dancable overhaul of "Organ Donor" to Cut Chemist's mayhem of "Number Song," the variety of perspectives and directions the album could have taken is immediately apparent. It is the kaleidascope from which to view the world of Endtroducing, granting variety and intrigue to the many pieces that make up this grand collective.
Coupled with a live performance at the end of the disc, Endtroducing is finally given the proper platform which it deserves. For fans who have all the vinyl, it can be a redux and a compilation by which to listen to some of the most defining music of the decade. For the unassuming viewer, this record is immediately accessible and mandatory. You're cutting yourself short by missing out on this Deluxe Edition.
33 of 35 found the following review helpful:
Splice World Apr 25, 1999
"Entroducing..." is perhaps one of the most amazing albums in the world of music. While an album that is built entirely off of samples may have some think of Puff Daddy's theft of '80's songs, Shadow is far from the sampling of Puff Daddy. Shadow loops interesting samples from forgotten and obscure songs. He layers samples from different records and uses odd effects to create strange soundscapes. If you give this album a listen, you will be hooked. Check out "The Numbers Song" (a Metallica guitar loop mixed with soul and hip-hop records? Where else have you heard that?), "Napalm Brain/Scatter Brain", and "Midnight In A Perfect World". For more Shadow, check out Preemptive Strike which features his first masterpiece "In/Flux" and the entire "What Does Your Soul Look Like" EP. Pick this up and prepare to be amazed.
25 of 27 found the following review helpful:
Producing one of the best albums ever Jul 12, 2004
By Manny Hernandez
From the opening sample of "Building Steam With a Grain of Salt" where a voice is heard saying "Producing..." you know you are listening to an outstanding piece of work. In order to better understand this, you have to position yourself at the time this album came out.
You have to realize Trip Hop was already in full fledge: Massive Attack and Portishead had already come out with their own thing, but DJ Shadow came with a different proposal in 1996 when he produced 'Endtroducing...'. Through the magic of samples, he blended in a way many have tried to copy, yet no one yet matched, genres such as rock, soul, funk, ambient, and jazz, into a final product that transcends time. If you need further proof of that, think how long it's been since this album came out (1996) as you are reading this, sit back, listen to it and be amazed, as so many have been amazed to this day.
After listening to 'Endtroducing...' almost daily for three weeks now, turning back and thinking of acts such as Fatboy Slim almost feels awkward, considering his sample-based 'Better Living Through Chemistry' came out almost a full year after Shadow's debut. Granted that everyone has a place in music, DJ Shadow's genius with sampling work simply is above and beyond, making this not only his breakthrough, but also one of the best albums ever.
Other favorite tracks: "Changeling", "Untitled" and the grandieuse "Mutual Slump". If you want to take a dip into an evolved form of his work, check out his side project, U.N.K.L.E., in particular 'Psyence Fiction'.
21 of 23 found the following review helpful:
One of the best and most revolutionary albums ever Dec 18, 2000
This is very well one of the greatest albums ever made. And the reason is because it is music. It's like a jazz album. And for me it's the best jazz album I have ever heard since Kind Of Blue (Miles Davis).
It's not techno, infact it's the farthest thing from it. For me it's a mix between jazz and hip hop. Dj Shadow grew up as a hip hop kid, collected records since he was younger than 13 or something, and made this album.
The extraordinary thing about it is that it is 100 percent samples. Not many people will believe it when they first hear it, because it's crafted together to sound like it isn't samples. For example, how many people have heard a hip hop track with a deep piano sample (that also isn't "funky" whatsoever) throughout the whole song? Or emotional female vocals to fill in empty spots (that's also a sample)? Or better yet, how many have ever heard, in their whole lives, a song that has a classical bass loop, mixed with a female vocals, mixed with a funky wah wah guitar, and a heavy slowed down hip hop beat? When I first heard it I thought to myself "oh he must be playing that piano" or "oh he's probably got a keyboard that can do that" or "his girl is probably doing the vocals there". But it isn't like that at all, his keyboard, piano, and girl who can sing is his records!
This album is different, and that is the great thing about it.
Now another fun thing to figure out is where the hell did he get all those damn samples? There's some samples on this album that NO ONE knows about! And that's another extraordinary thing, it truly shows how much he worked on this album.
I saw a review back here that said his beats weren't raw and rugged, well this is as raw as it gets. And a few said that it was very hard to dance to, well if you want something like that then go buy an album by a guy who has a drum machine that goes up to 400 bpm and a keyboard that has a few keys on it. Another one said that this isn't the best drum and bass record they've ever heard, well read the above comment. And finally, I read one review that said his DJ skills are like those of a dj who plays at a bar, well he has many many records, and if he's been around his tables for that long, he probably knows a lot more than a bar dj about djing.
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