DJ Shadow
Endtroducing.....


5.0
classic

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
January 21st, 2011 | 206 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist


“What does your soul look like?” DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing..... asks 20 minutes into its entirety. It’s rhetorical at best; a joke, right? Because this record can’t have a soul--if it does, it’s stolen, from about a billion pieces of black wax that range from 60s psychedelia to (of course) obscure vocal B-movie samples to funky drum loops. Can an album that’s listed in the Guinness World Records for being the first made up of entirely samples have a soul? Shadow is fucking teasing us with that question, because he knows sampling is--or should be--a reductive art by nature. “What does your soul look like?” Apparently, it’s that cover, with some blurry-faced fat guy and another green-hooded guy...just sort of buying records, I guess. Hell, those two probably didn’t even know they were having their picture taken. Which, in the most abstract of ways, is sort of how this album works. It’s candid in the most abstract of ways; it takes snapshots of normal or even shitty (I fear ever having to witness how awkward the rest of the interview that introduces “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt” is) slices of just about everything that pop and music culture have consisted of over the past forty years--and some things a little too odd or obscure or both to be considered part of any “culture”--and fashions them into a sort of patchwork soul and calls it Endtroducing....., five dots and all.

“Midnight in a Perfect World” is the obvious choice to exemplify this because it really is perfect (and, in its own way, sorta resembles midnight, although maybe that’s just some sort of weird placebo effect subconsciously forced onto me by the title) and the most accessible example of Shadow’s craft, but even things like opener “Best Foot Forward” (in which Shadow cleverly spends 50 seconds having his own sample army hype him up) or the bizarre untitled track show the sort of strange beauty that goes on behind the whole thing. This is the dirty underbelly of popular culture, recontextualized into something beautiful, something magnificent. A quote like “Maureen’s got five sisters. They’ve all got ass.” is given a place in the soul-quilt next to the tranquil sax solos and the horror-movie ambiance, and the album is all the better for it. The power of Endtroducing..... lies in that it makes us appreciate, as well as the less “high-class” samples on here, those two record-scroungers on the cover. They may not be pretty to look at by themselves (sorry, guys), but it’s them and their records that coalesce into timelessly beautiful things like this. DJ Shadow is the opposite of sampling's stereotype as "reductive" art. He doesn’t just take “low art” and turn it into “high art”--he strips back the mask and reveals the “high art” potentiality in everything.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2011


15050 Comments


i wrote this really quickly sorry if it sucks album is amazing

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2011


10494 Comments


great review great album. like how you keep it short

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

BigTuna
January 22nd 2011


5160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

been trying to find this on vinyl since I'm cool now and have a record player

Digging: Yellowcard - Lift a Sail

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

having this on vinyl is like, meta-awesome
because the album was made entirely from samples that he took from records (if I'm correct about that)

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

why the fuck do I not have this rated?...I must have wanted to decide if it was a 4.5 or a 5....
hmmm....

4.5 because Mezzanine is a 4.5 and I still like that album better...barely

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and, sorry for the triple post but i just read the review, but fucking brilliant review man. really good stuff

Ponton
Emeritus
January 22nd 2011


5803 Comments


really interesting, odd read

Enotron
January 22nd 2011


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

changeling is so awesome

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
January 22nd 2011


862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

one of my favourites. mutual slump is my favourite right now, but that changes a lot.

Romulus
January 22nd 2011


8441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i should probably listen to this

Chrisjon89
January 22nd 2011


3732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, what I've heard from this is great

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Enotron
January 22nd 2011


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh btw I really like this review alex. As of recent I've realized how much better reviews are that don't just go on about the details of the album/music, but rather give context to it and sell the art to the reader as something a tad more endearing than generic descriptions. gjob bro

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2011


15050 Comments


tanks

SpaceGhost
January 22nd 2011


51 Comments


wait he is the one drumming right?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2011


15050 Comments


no its all samples

SmurkinGherkin
January 22nd 2011


1769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

stem/long stem will always be my favourite

i think i read that the two dudes on the cover contributed some vocals to the album

idk if that's reliable or not though

but yeah incredible album

timbo8
January 22nd 2011


618 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Amazing album, Massive Attack's got nothing on DJ Shadow

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2011


9048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I could never get into this, never really tried though

BigPoppaDiesel
January 29th 2011


150 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Amazing on vinyl.

YetAnotherBrick
September 14th 2011


4473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is my favorite Endtroducing review.



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