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DJ Shadow: Endtroducing

Some consider DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing…(MoWax/FFRR, 697-124 123-2, 63:32) a broadcast from hip-hop’s near future. But that notion ignores how much this disc reaffirms the music’s creative roots. Shadow’s liner-notes laundry list of influences and prime movers makes that clear for anyone who misses it (or chooses to ignore it), though the hope for a heightened appreciation of the still-unsurpassed achievements of, say, Prince Paul or the original Bomb Squad is wishful, given the historical precedents. Still, taken on its own terms, Endtroducing is pretty damn good, with Shadow demonstrating an unerring ear for motif and texture, touching on everything from dub to funk to groove-jazz. The sinuous “Changeling,” and “Stem/Long Stem” sound like the soundtracks to art movies not yet born, while “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt” and “The Number Sound” draw on old-school styled beatmongering. Shadow isn’t the first to explore this territory, but once your head starts nodding, you don’t notice.

Originally Published