DJ Shadow - The Private Press

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-08-25

California's Josh Davis--aka DJ Shadow would have no easy ride in making The Private Press after his debut Endtroducing wreaked havoc in the dance and hip-hop communities. Constructed entirely around samples, yet defiantly and thrillingly original, it took searching for dusty breaks in old thrift stores to new levels. With its serious b-boy underpinnings and potently stark soundtrack feel, it heralded in a whole new era of instrumental hip-hop. A zillion copycats have landed on the bandwagon since, but Shadow has kept on top of his game, keeping his hand in with various collaborations (Blackalicious, Unkle, Cut Chemist and superlative 12s like "High Noon" and "Pre-emptive Strike". Now, a full six years later, he's back with a follow up that is every bit as impressive as his debut but in a different way.

Once again, the producer has pushed his sampler to the limits, but this time he's brought with it a deeper, hungrier, more bad-ass spirit that's rarely found in modern dance music. There's a fabulous 80s vibe throughout (seen principally on tracks like "Monosylabik" and "You Can't Go Home Again") and the expected forays into b-boy culture (check the funky-ass collaboration with Lateef "Mashin On The Motorway"). While it's identifiably Shadow, it ain't "Endtroducing…Part 2". It is a worthy and imaginative follow up with humour, wisdom and musical understanding aplenty. It'll definitely enhance any record collection. --Paul Sullivan

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