on 22 January 2000
From the moment 'Best Foot Forward' introduces Shadow (aka San Fransisco born Josh Davis) as "just your favourite DJ saviour", you know it's going to be a rollercoaster ride. From the chilled out bliss of 'What Does Your Soul Look Like?' to the frantic beats of 'Stem', this is the sound of modern music being re-invented. It's not just his exquisite choice of samples, it's the revlutionary way he uses them to create completely new pieces of music. The standout track for me (and many others) has always been 'Midnight In A Perfect World', with its delicious female vocal draped over that fantastic hook which makes you weak at the knees every time you hear it. All that and a pounding beat added to the fray make it an absolutely killer tune. But having said that all the tracks on this album have a remarkably polished quality about them, even the slightly rawer 'Napalm Death', and Shadow has somehow managed to capture a spectrum of different moods and make them work on one album. There is no easy way to sum up this album, all I can do is plead that if you don't have it, you must buy it. It is the defining album of its kind for the nineties, and I believe it will in later years come to be regarded as one of the classics of all time.
on 7 August 2001
What more can I say about this epoch making album that hasn't been said already?Entroducing,for me is perhaps the greatest beat constructed audio journey ever committed to vinyl and cd.Dj Shadow has beautifully composed a mesmerising album of pure uncut bliss that awakens and reinvigorates the soul.Lush strings and spine tingling spaced out samples and sounds are fused like a match made in heaven with Shadow's penchant for sampling the deepest of drum patterns and heaviest of drum soaked breaks.Unlike many of his other contempories,Dj Shadow is more than simply a Dj,he's a musical genius and beat innovator and treats the sampler like a real instrument and has made sampling an art form.One could say that Dj Shadow is the Beethoven of sampling,ie,always challenging the boundaries of musical creativity and taking his form of music beyond the next level.I urge all discerning lovers of music to introduce themselves to Entroducing,your life will be enriched for it.
on 1 February 2003
Some of the reviews on here pretty much echo what I thought when I first heard this record. It is a timeless album, it is a classic (despite it being sample based music) and whatever you listen to, it demands to be in your collection. There is a fine mix of funk (James Brown), chillout (prog rock samples!) and the best track of the lot, "The Number Song", featuring an utterly superb sample of "Orion" from Metallica's "Master Of Puppets" album. Thankfully, DJ Shadow retains his humility and refuses to spout pretentious "big-ups" to people he doesn't really like, and use stupid colloquial terms like "bangin' tune". That is the sort of guff that puts a lot of people off taking this music seriously. Seriously, even if you don't usually listen to this sort of music, do a System Of A Down and "Steal This Album", because it is a refreshing reminder that original and challenging (without being self-indulgent) musicians do exist.
'Endtroducing' was deemed an auto-classic upon its release in 1996, so is welcome in this new expanded deluxe-edition - where it now sounds as great as ever & comes with a bonus-disc of related works & rarities. Fans of 'Endtroducing' will no doubt buy this for the bonus-disc, including excerpts from a Steve Lamacq radio-show - perhaps there ought to be a similar deluxe reissue of 'Pre-Emptive Strike', as only much of the 'High Noon' single from 1997 isn't here?
'Endtroducing' didn't come from nowhere - Josh Davis built on the singles collected on 'Pre-Emptive Strike' & several releases compiled on 2000's 'Solesides Greatest Bumps' which included Latryx, Blackalicious, The Gift of Gab & Shadow himself on tracks like 'The Third Decade, Our Move' & 'Count & Estimate.' The cover of 'Endtroducing' encapsulates the album's approach- Shadow taking a myriad of sources-samples and fusing them with his own blend of electronica and hip-hop into something new. As a sampledelic work, it's up there with the greatest - Depeche Mode's 'Black Celebration', Public Enemy's 'It Takes a Nation of Millions...', De La Soul's 'Three Feet High & Rising' & 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts' by Eno/Byrne. Shadow's samples were elclectic, including snatchs of tracks like 'Rainbow Chaser' by Nirvana (the British psychedelic act), Fleetwood Mac's 'Brown Eyes' & a mass of obscure cuts that are still of debate/note by those intrigued. The documentary 'Snatch' (2001) captures this ethos well...
Shadow wanted to take hip-hop foward, while looking back to its utopian roots from the early 80s (think Bambaata's sampling of Kraftwerk on 'Planet Rock' or the film 'Wild Style'), and against the dominant mode of gangsta-rap- which ultimately won, so you end up with obvious-samples by 50 Cent, Will Smith or whoever and a diluted version of the genre (hence the track 'Why Hip-Hop Sucks in '96').
'Endtroducing', loosely a concept-album concerned with 1999/the future, is packed with classics- 'The Number Song', the electronic-jazz of 'Changeling' (the 1990s equivalent of 'On the Corner'? & not unlike Tangerine Dream!), the classical-nodding 'Organ Donor' (even better in the 'overhaul'-version on Disc-2), the epic 'Stem/Long Stem' (up there with Orbital's 'The Box'), the euphoric 'Midnight in a Perfect World' & the the multi-part 'What Does Your Soul Look Like?' (the complete versions of which are found on 'Pre-Emptive Strike').
The dance-genre (a loose, general tag I know) is not renound for producing classic-albums - due to fashion and the fact it's often based around singles, the dance-music longplayer classic is often seen as elusive. But 'Endtroducing' is counter to that view, which I don't completely buy, and a release to rank alongside such classics as 'Blue Lines', 'Maxinquaye','Surfing on Sine Waves','Every Man & Woman is a Star','Snivilisation','Dubnobasswithmyheadman' & 'Supermodified.' 'Endtroducing' has certain preceded and influenced many acts too - Unkle, South, Rjd2, Clouddead, Cannibal Ox, The Charlatans, Radiohead, The Verve, Amon Tobin etc. It's also one of the key albums of the 1990s, a highlight alongside 'Dust','O.K. Computer','Wrecking Ball','Loveless','Laughing Stock','Zaireeka','Liquid Swords' etc. In short, a deluxe-version of an album that no one should be without...
Widely acknowledged as a genuine landmark on its original release in 1996 DJ Shadows Endtroducing is given the trendy re-mastering treatment. If ever an album deserved it though it's this one, an album that provided a discernible link between hip hop and more tasteful and critically rarefied genres like classical and ambient.
The tracks were built utilising samples , possibly from many of the vinyl treasures stretching to some distant vanishing point on the albums cover, and take in a head bending array of music- funk, soul, ,jazz even rock - as well as the aforementioned ambient. It also takes in narrated samples from all over the place, movies, TV etc and provides some cognitive interest and strange empirical resonance.
It's a painstaking work of awesome ambition and listened to now it sounds even more groundbreaking , the loops and breaks dropped in and arranged with a sense of instinctive genius.It,s difficult to dissect and categorise and evaluate individual tracks but "What Does Your Soul Look Like" has an elegiac quality that puts it in the same bracket of some of Ennio Morricones and Michael Nymans finest work while "Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt " is as beguilingly weird and wonderful as it's title suggests.
The second extra disc feature alternative mixes, half realised takes on songs that are sometimes drum loops minus overdubs and hollow demos that don't really add much to the original for the most part unless you are a real muso type desperate for a window into a musicians creative process. Some of the mixes are good though. "Stem "is intercut with the legendary De Niro/ Pacino encounter from "Heat" while versions of tracks by Peshay, Cut Chemist and Quannum are all worth investigating. There is also a twelve minute live section from a 1997 show in Oxford.
It's the main album originally released on "Mo Wax" that makes this an essential purchase. In a way it's...gasp, almost a concept album. A series of transmissions from a possible future .Now whether that future ever came to pass or indeed is still waiting to happen, well ... I dunno do I .Ones things for sure this is a record that will never date, never become so much tedious mulch .It still sounds astounding. It always will.
on 11 January 2001
Josh Davies genius can only be described by how his music makes you feel. When listening to this album everything you see around you becomes part of the music and vibe it creates. The album's track listing breaks up into 3 parts in a sense, creating new aspects from the same vibe. The first as an introduction to the album and a taster of whats comming up, maybe alittle cheekily Shadow shows off his ability to craft his trip-hop breakbeats and blend with his raw scracth style. The second section is more of a mellow and darker sound than the first, and the third has a relaxing almost spiritual air. Compilations with the worlds top DJ's such as Krush, rap acts like NWA and Blackalicious and ofcourse the epic reborn UNKLE project, all these have the same smooth perfection Shadow creates, but in my veiw the greatest collection of music of all time has to be Entroducing. Its how I decide if I like a tune, I compare it to DJ Shadow, the grandaddy of trip-hop.
One of the great things about this truly outstanding album is that hip-hop and non-hip-hop fans alike will enjoy it. I don't like hip-hop but this album just has something special about it.
Nearly every song has a timelessness about it. Josh Davis's use of samples is just right and is never too pretentious. One of my particular favourite things about this album is the occasional use of piano. It sounds great and really adds something to the tracks it's featured on.
If you're wondering whether to buy this album or not, because you think you mightn't like it, just go for it. I thought I wouldn't like it and then I heard it!
on 25 October 2003
The word 'genius' is bandied about way too much these days, but this really is a work of genius. It’s unlike anything I’ve heard before or since and is such a beautiful and powerful album that I find it close to perfection. It’s as though the tracks are lifted directly from your soul and unravelled for you to gaze at. This is soul music in the true sense of the word. It’s an album both heartbreakingly poignant yet possessed of such energy that it seems impossible that someone could have built it from sounds. It sounds more like it comes from another world. Sorry if this seems over the top, but it really is an incredible experience.
If I had to choose one album to keep forever, this is it. A timeless masterpiece.