So I gave this album a spin while traipsing around the largest market I’ve ever seen (Chatuchak Market in Bangkok).
It worked perfectly as a buffer against any pleas of “try”, “cheap, cheap”, “love you long time” etc that might have been coming my way.
While I was still bombarded by a myriad of sights (and smells), DJ Shadow was soothing me with his (slightly) more gentle pastiche of sounds.
They were a perfect combination. So much of what I was witnessing was an intersection of various worlds (East and West, traditional and modern, spiritual and consumerist). And being Thailand, there was no shortage of “borrowed” ideas, and clever (although not always deliberate) reinterpretations of familiar designs.
That is very much were DJ Shadow is coming from – reshaping and reimagining sounds from across genres.
As an album this is more beat heavy and faster tempoed than its predecessor. But it is still more of a daytime headspace party than one you’d invite your friends along to.
I just learned that the most upbeat track on here was remixed for The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, which featured the sort of driving I think most Bangkok residents would love to try if everyone else would just get off the roads:
File under: Join the Press Gang
I spent several hours yesterday on a bus travelling out and back to the bridge on the River Kwai. Part of my journey was spent in the company of Mr. Shadow and his enormous record collection.
DJ Shadow is reported to have over 60,000 records in his collection. So if he embarked upon my mission, he’d be looking at approximately a 164 year timeframe.
This, his debut effort, is a headphone joy. His waves of samples, his humour and his experimentation swirl around your head and distract you from the Bangkok gridlock and the monotony of endless truck part shops.
This is in the same vein as (and was presumably an inspiration for) The Avalanches‘ debut. It doesn’t have the self-conscious frivolity of the Aussie lads’ effort, nor does it chase any dance floor glory, although this candidate no doubt does the trick:
This stuff has been labelled “trip hop” and it seems an apt label. It is very much a chilled-out, relax and imbibe vibe. There is nothing lazy or rushed about the sound collages here. Everything feels like it belongs.
Let’s see if his follow-up can handle some Bangkok wandering…
File under: Aural découpage