Intricate elegance of sampling

Intricate elegance of sampling

American music producer DJ Shadow has released his fourth studio album, The Less You Know, the Better. Also known as Josh Davis, he can be credited with bringing turntables to the foreground of pop music, and introducing electric hip hop to the masses. This is a fine album, a condensation of more than two decades' worth of sampling experience. He branches into every genre, from heavy metal in Border Crossing to jazz ballad in Sad and Lonely. What is constant is that subtle Shadow touch: every note meticulously produced to fit together.

The first single, I've Been Trying/Def Surrounds Us is actually two separate songs. I've Been Trying twangs of country, with southern vocals to create an extremely folksy effect. The song is a departure from the traditional Shadow style - more like a customary record than a taste of samples. Def Surrounds Us continues the southern sound but with a digital effect. The song is all over the place, but there is a clear method to the madness: repeated listenings reveal a delicately crafted and deliberate pattern. Here, DJ Shadow's reputation for sampling is well-earned. Chants are inserted masterfully in harmony with the drum breaks.

The Less You Know, the Better reveals the intricate elegance of producing and sampling. The album is not for everyone, but given the range of DJ Shadow's repertoire, you'll find at least one song you can't stop listening to.

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