Monday, October 3, 2011

DJ Shadow: The Less You Know, The Better Review

DJ Shadow’s newest album mixes rock, hip-hop, country, trance, even some free form poetry; The Less You Know, The Better doesn’t fit into any category of music – DJ Shadow throws every form of music he can into this one. Does it work? Well, I certainly respect it; this is his most ambitious album, as there are too many different genres of music to list. And the shear creativity is impressive.

No single song has the same tone or the same instruments for that matter. “Sad And Lonely” is a piano and violin influenced symphony, the very next song, “Warning Call,” is experimental rock. All these contrasting styles fly in the face of convention and make The Less You Know, The Better an album that you have to sit and think about, and not listen to.

I found myself trying to get inside of DJ Shadow’s mind and figure out what he was trying to do. I spent less time actually listening to the music. The jarring transition between songs on The Less You Know, The Better may only resonate with a niche audience. Not the people who fell in love with his earlier work. Was this just a load of songs DJ Shadow had on the back burner that he just tossed on an album, maybe.

DJ Shadow doesn’t feel the need to scratch here either. Despite his name DJ Shadow rarely gets down on the wheels of steel on his albums, it’s mostly about mixing and sampling, not scratching records. That said, The Less You Know, The Better is the farthest thing from traditional turntablism.

Ambitious or not I’d have a hard time recommending this one to anybody because it’s so difficult to describe. One may never be in the mood to listen to The Less You Know, The Better because DJ Shadow doesn’t establish a tone.

Having no concrete sound, The Less You Know, The Better isn’t going to please a lot of DJ Shadow fans that just want him to repeat is debut Endtroducing. I can’t help but admire his experimental work, it may not be what people expected and that makes The Less You Know, The Better aptly titled.

Fill your ear holes with these:

“Circular Logic (Front To Back)”
“Def Surrounds Us”
“Enemy Lines”
“Scale It Back”
“Let’s Get It (Bass, Bass, Bass)”

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