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DJ Shadow Endtroducing (33 1/3) (33 1/3) Paperback – 5 Jan 2012
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From DJ [Shadow]'s passion for music to his involvement in mixing and interactions with some of the key electronica wizards of modern times, any who would understand the man or his music needs Endtroducing in their collection. --The Midwest Book Review
What resonated about "Endtroducing" when it was released in 1996, and what makes it still resonate today, is the way in which it loosens itself from the mooring of the known and sails off into an uncharted territory that seems to exist both in and out of time. Josh Davis is not only a master sampler and turntablist supreme, he is also a serious archaeologist with a world-thirsty passion (what "Cut Chemist" refers to as Josh's "spidey sense") for seeking out, uncovering and then ripping apart the discarded graces of some other generation - that "pile of broken dreams" - and weaving them back together into a tapestry of chronic bleakness and beauty. Over the course of several long conversations with Josh Davis (DJ Shadow), we learn about his early years in California, the friends and mentors who helped him along the way, his relationship with Mo'Wax and James Lavelle, and the genesis and creation of his widely acknowledged masterpiece, "Endtroducing."See all Product description
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Is it absolutely everything we could ever know about the album all in one book? No, but it's got so much Shadow input that it stands as one of the key texts to go to on Shadow's work, and that alone makes it essential reading for fans of his and just Hip Hop fans in general
This strategy isn't a bad one, but we don't really find out anything very interesting. The interviewer doesn't follow up on anything Shadow says, nor does he ask him any hard questions.
From a UK perspective, Shadow is a key trip hop artist, an influence on Four Tet and other electronic/dance acts. However, Shadow sees himself as a 100 per cent hip hop act, and he talks the hip hop talk. This allows him a kind of macho lack of self-awareness (and avoidance of any real thought). The funniest example comes when white guy Shadow takes a black teacher to task for the teacher's lack of knowledge of black history. I was longing for the interviewer to challenge Shadow on this, and at many other moments. But he never does, and you can imagine him nodding along with Shadow.
That said, this is a lot better than some of the woeful books in this series.
trip-hop at it's best.
close your eyes, lie back and lick your ice-cream on a sunny day. this is the soundtrack for relaxation.
stand out tracks for me, naplam brain scatter, challenging, the number song & building steam with a grain of salt.
5/5 all the way
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1. The author is an old white guy. Pro: This was certainly a unique perspective. I mean, I guess I'm an "old white guy" too, now, but I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and Eliot Wilder grew up in the 1960s. In fact, he spends the first 22 pages of the book talking about how he grew up listening to the Four Tops, the Kinks, and Buffalo Springfield on AM radio. Con: Since the book is basically a long interview with Shadow, I feel like better questions would have been asked by someone more familiar with hip-hop. How unfamiliar is Wilder? Well, despite being an obvious fan of Entroducing, he seems to not really understand that it is a hip-hop album! On Page 88, Wilder asks Shadow whether he was drawing on post-modernism or "some sort of hip-hop aesthetic" for inspiration. Shadow answers by basically saying (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Uh, I'm a hip-hop artist. Duh."
2. The book is one long interview with the artist. Pro: We hear directly from Shadow much more than any other hip-hop artist covered in the 33 1/3 series. After Wilder's 22-page intro about himself, the rest of the book consists of approximately 80 questions (I counted 77 but I probably missed a few) asked over 76 pages. Basically, Wilder asks a one- or two-line question, and then Shadow fills between a half-page and 2.5 pages with his answer. This is even more of a "pro" if you consider Wilder's lack of hip-hop perspective to be a con, as I do. We learn a lot of interesting things: First and foremost on that list, in my opinion, is DJ Shadow's early relationship with the militant pro-black rapper Paris. Con: The book lacks the expert's insight found on other 33 1/3 books. I got much deeper levels of understanding from all four of the other hip-hop books in the series. Also, it seems maybe even a little bit disingenuous for Wilder to be credited as the "author" of this book, since it is Shadow's words that fill the pages. All but the first 22, that is!
3. The book really isn't about Entroducing, but more about DJ Shadow in general. Pro: We learn a lot about Shadow growing up in California; collecting his first records, getting his first turntables, getting put on a college radio station, his first experiments with beat-making, and his first forays into the recording industry (with Paris of all people). All 33 and 1/3 books contain artist background information, but this one definitely went deepest of the ones I've read. Con: There are approximately 80 questions asked in the interview, and it is well past #40 before we get into the Entroducing era. Fewer than a third of the questions are specifically about Entroducing. I would have liked to know more about the album, the conditions under which it was recorded, the techniques Shadow used and experimented with using his MPC 60 and the recording technology of the day, etc. We get some insights into some of this, but they occupy well under one-fourth of the book.
4. The book is short. Pro: Easy, quick read. Con: Less filling. Need I mention, again, the 22-page intro about the author's childhood, which takes up more than one-fifth of the pages?
So there you have it. This is a very good book, and I'd recommend it without reservation if not for the fact that it must be compared to the other hip-hop books in the 33 and 1/3 series, to which it is inferior. If you are a major Shadow fan, then by all means, buy this now. But if you're more of a general hip-hop head who likes Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, the Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy just as much or more than Shadow, then you should still buy and read this -- but not until after the others.