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Shadow Masters: The Best of Shadow Trip Hop

It 1s too soon to call Shadow Masters: The Best of Shadow Trip Hop (Shadow, SDW 049-2 49:10) a collection of “classic” abstract hip-hop artists-we need to wait until we’re out of the ’90s, at least, before we start tossing adjectives like that around. But no one should be surprised at how seminal these tracks (by DJ Krush, DJ Cam, Shantel 8 Lazy 9, and Cujo, among others) sound. Their continuing appeal should come as no surprise, either. Something like DJ Krush’s “Into the Water,” with its spare drum track and dusty bass loop or DJ Cam’s “Gangsta” follow mid-decade trip-hop formulae, but still can get you into a cool nod. It’s hard to believe anything can maintain its freshness for more than two years nowadays, since music trends tend to go through their life cycle at an accelerated rate. This collection shows that, even in these post drum-n-bass Outkast days, good beats, and neat sounds still hold their appeal, often longer than expected.

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