Harkening back to the original days of his Success, DJ Shadowâ€™s latest album is twenty-seven tracks of rare cuts, concepts that were not fully fleshed out and so discarded from his original ground-breaking album, Endtropy. The longest track is 6+ minutes, the shortest is 25 seconds.
Split between classic sounds, funky beats, and drum & bass, the album encapsulates Shadowâ€™s breakout period.
The first track is what this pioneer of the West Coast DJ scene became famous for and is even called “Intropy” to give a nod to Endtropy.
I was personally pleased to hear outro â€œUp for Grabsâ€ and recognize the original sample that Shadow associates and fellow Soul Sides/Quannum artists, Blackalicous looted for their sick as hell Nia album.
But in truth the meat of this album is just sweet, funky coolinâ€™ out. With tracks like â€œDonâ€™t Try It,â€ â€œMovinâ€™ On,â€ and â€œMellow But Chunky,â€ Shadowâ€™s love of old school funk and soul influenced his original style.
Hidden Transmissions has some sweet, cool-out tracks as well, â€œSwimming Upstreamâ€ and â€œAffectationsâ€ come to mind as distinctly Shadow. These tracks are something to throw on the headphones and just enjoy while doing something else or nothing at all.Â Oddly, I had forgotten how much drum & bass, as well as other proto-rave genres, were represented during this period.
â€œDreams of a Pieceâ€ gets the award for favorite track title as well as most jazzy d&b on the album. Check out â€œFast Rap Fanfareâ€ for the quickest ish youâ€™ve heard in a while and â€œIntensely Hittingâ€ has to have been part of some sort of sub-genre called gospel drum & bass.
If you like Shadow, or ’90s DJ tricks, samples, and styles, definitely check this one out.