x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

DJ Shadow: The Less You Know, the Better

Playing much like a mixtape of his favourite genres, The Less You Know, the Better skips betweens styles in an almost manic manner.

The Less You Know, the Better 
Island
*** 

It is hard to believe that it's been 15 years since the name DJ Shadow began littering the conversations of anyone with their fingers even close to the pulse.

Josh Davis, now 39 and considered one of hip-hop's elder statesmen, may still be a sizeable force, but it's largely thanks to his pioneering 1996 debut Endtroducing, the Guinness record-breaking sample-fest that has loomed large over every subsequent release from the Californian.

And the comparisons are likely to emerge thick and fast with this, only his third studio LP since. Playing much like a mixtape of his favourite genres, The Less You Know, the Better skips betweens styles in an almost manic manner.

In only the first five tracks he jumps from heavy metal (Border Crossing) to upbeat De La Soul-style beats (Stay the Course, featuring Posdnuos from De La Soul on vocals) to the guitar-backed soul (I've Been Trying) to slow echoing piano chords (Sad and Lonely).

While each track is laced with Shadow's precision production and expert manipulation of samples, as a whole it simply doesn't gel. There are some quality moments. Warning Call - with Tom Vek on vocals - is a nice slice of post-punk. Funk and drum 'n' bass collide well with Run For Your Life. But together as one it just seems like an attempt to showcase the eclectic range of one man's record collection. Again.