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A Deeper Look at DJ Shadow

Posted by on September 29, 2012

DJ Shadow’s 1996 debut record Endtroducing was a masterpiece of lush electronica with soulful samples. It set the bar for the hip-hop style of DJing made famous by the London label Mowax.

Originally from Hayward, California, Josh Davis A.K.A. DJ Shadow made a name for himself making mixtapes when he went away to college at the University of California at Davis. He’s a DJ’s DJ. And Endtroducing was a landmark release that got him recognition as a musical force in the US and the UK.

So many good tracks: “Organ Donor”, “Building Steam With a Grain of Salt”, “Midnight in a Perfect World.” My favorite by far is “What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4).”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvC0qrEEBZw]

If you get the deluxe edition of Endtroducing, the second disc is all remixes. The best one is “The Numbers Song (Cut Chemis remix).”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JedytPMwhpE]

From the second record Private Press in 2002, the highlight is “The Right Thing.” For many years on the radio I’ve used this song as a re-calibrate button. If I’m feeling off for some reason, I play this track and it brings me back to zero. The place where I started.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5D8Fl9JIaGM]

Shadow’s live full-length In Tune and On Time is a dark party record. When he performs, DJ Shadow has his visuals synced to his turntables. This, the beats and samples bring the crowd to a boiling point. Well worth the trip.

Here’s a live performance of DJ Shadow’s most famous song “Organ Donor.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBh1clvIrmo]

DJ Shadow’s 5th studio full-length The Outsider kicks off with “My Way.” One of the best soul remix songs ever…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlrVUspgC5k]

Also from The Outsider was the political mix of hip-hop and electronic beats with the intelligent rapping of David Banner.

*This video is not for workplaces or children.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C3py6YIymg]

Continuing to put out records and perform, Shadow’s stage show is known for the visual. Here’s a video of his Coachella show from this year.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuURyoWxflo]

This week DJ Shadow released Reconstructed, his definitive box set. He spins Saturday with Bonobo at Showbox Sodo as part of Seattle’s Decibel Festival.

Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP radio. Music Historian and Producer, Michele’s made over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries. She’s written scripts, lesson plans and features for Experience Music ProjectUniversity of Washington and NPR.

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