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DJ Shadow, The Less You Know The Better
Verve Records, Oct. 4

09/29/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



What else to say but that I wholeheartedly approve of anyone who automatically turns down hyped-up offers to have his/her music co-opted for use by Apple or anyone else (fine, he threw way too much weight behind the failed DJ Hero video game, but that’s sort of like Tony Hawk posing for Tech Deck), not to mention the fact that this San Jose sample-wonder doesn’t really follow competitors like Clams Casino and whoever. Once again aiming to solidify hip-hop’s seat at the rock table, he doubles the anything-goes efforts of 2006’s The Outsider with another set that fits together exquisitely if you’ll just shut up and listen (are people even aware of underground hip-hop, serious question?). Toward this he takes a cue from Moby with babbling opener “Back to Front,” then bastardizes some Judas Priest riffage in “Border Crossing,” then cuts Talib Kweli loose over the ’70s-chill-funk patter of “Stay the Course.” And that’s just the first three items — I don’t know if it’s because of the overall sound (the mission here is not to bust every woofer in sight, although it could) or the palette (pure color with enough dabs of antisocial goofiness to shut up the hipsters), but really, anyone with ears could like any given 85 percent of this stuff. And exactly when did Tom Vek suddenly become awesome (“Warning Call”)? A —Eric W. Saeger






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