Graphic by Tyler Silber '20 | Plank
It’s very rare for a new artist’s first album release to end up being their best release, but for Josh Davis, aka DJ Shadow, this rarity came true. His album, “Endtroducing…..,” skyrocketed him into the stratosphere as one of the most well-respected producers in the underground scene and has contributed to the normalization of experimental hip-hop albums.
The album opens with the track “Best Foot Forward,” which seems like a fever dream previewing what you’re about to hear. This short, 43-second track goes into the second track, “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt,” which gives the listener their first real taste of DJ Shadow’s production style.
The majority of the tracks on this album feature intricate drum fills, a sound comparable to what is found in Aphex Twin’s discography. Something else you’ll find is that samples are one of the biggest parts of this album, making up the more intricate parts. “The Number Song” and “Changeling” are both songs that demonstrate DJ Shadow’s ability to make drums the main focus of a song.
The drums layer on top of each other and the multiple tempo changes allow the sound to be ever changing and unpredictable. One of the best examples of DJ Shadow’s pure talent with manipulating drums in relation to the whole song is within the track “Stem/Long Stem (Medley).” Towards the end of the first half of the track,the drums go into overdrive, sounding similar to something you’d hear in a death metal song.
In “Stem/Long Stem (Medley),” this overdrive works exceptionally well, creating a much more full and grounded sound, which makes the song much more interesting as the chaos of the drums allow for the normalization of a very dissident sound that oddly unites the seemingly disparate individual parts of the song.
The second half of the “Stem/Long Stem (Medley)” fades off into a synth riff that sounds straight from the mind of John Carpenter. The rest of the song builds an atmosphere out of an interview soundbite that fades out the same way it faded in.
There is a continuation of the calming sound with the song “Mutual Slump,” which combines the bombastic sound of drums heard earlier in the album. The song breaks in the middle with the isolation of the very distant-sounding riff heard as a main part of the song; this part being one that XXXTentacion sampled in his song, “Alone Part 2.”
“Midnight in a Perfect World” brings back the calm, jazz-inspired style of sampling that is able to bring the listener down to a much calmer place that prepares them for the end of the album. However, DJ Shadow had one more surprise before leaving with the track “Napalm Brain/Scatter Brain (Medley)” that greets the listener with a deceivingly mellow sound.
This last track adds to the overall tone of the album as it acts as a goodbye but also a reminder that this isn’t goodbye forever and that DJ Shadow would reappear, capturing an anticipation similar to how audiences respond to post-credits scenes in Marvel movies.
“Endtroducing…..” is great to listen throughout your day at school as lyrics aren’t the main focus of the album; rather, the production is what you’ll be listening to, making this perfect for studying. “Endtroducing…..” is an album that would also go great with your drive home from school or practice, a perfect way to end your day.