DJ Shadow: Reconstructed – The Best of DJ Shadow

DJ Shadow
Reconstructed: The Best of DJ Shadow
(A&M Records)

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DJ Shadow is one of the most accomplished electronic/trip hop musicians of the day, with his debut album Endtroducing… landing him a slot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first record to be composed of only samples. From that notoriety, Shadow has branched out to write, collaborate, and craft albums that defy categorization. Reconstructed collects Shadow’s greatest moments since 1996, and the resulting album is surprisingly cohesive and brilliant.

Reconstructed begins with “Midnight in a Perfect World,” which demonstrates how Shadow can combine so many unrelated tracks to create a completely different song. Hip hop, soul, and rock come together to create a spooky, sprawling opener. Sometimes, such as in this case, the samples flow together, but sometimes Shadow also knows how to draw them out. Such is the case with “Six Days,” featuring vocals from the song “Six Day War” by Colonel Bagshot. The ‘70s song is given an elector beat, infusing it with modernity.

Collaborations also make their way onto this compilation. Shadow-produced UK electronica/trip hop band Unkle’s debut album, Psyence Fiction, has an overall similar feel to Shadow’s own work. “Lonely Soul” has a mellow drumbeat and squeaking strings that augment Richard Ashcroft’s guest vocals. It’s one of the best songs Unkle has ever done, and to have Shadow include it with his own work is nice to see.

With instrumentals, samples, collaborations, and more, Reconstructed concisely provides a sharp glimpse of the last decade and a half of the musician’s career. If you like your electronica to be grounded in soul and hip hop, then this is definitely a great place to start.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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