The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Record Review

Reviewed by Christopher Coletti, June 14, 2002, Music

DJ Shadow

Private Press (MCA/Quannum) Waking from a restless dream, even after the longest sleep, one finds himself distraught, tired, and most of all, puzzled. Although your movement might have been limited to a 1-or-2-inch roll, your restless mind has been engulfed in a state of thought never confronted in everyday reality. To this area of the obscure is where Josh Davis, aka DJ Shadow, hopes to take us. On Private Press, Shadow, a pioneer in vinyl preservation, allows the wax-engraved samples to lead him through an intentionally loose-strung concept of hip-hop and psychedelia, which at times loses focus. The LP's 14 tracks break down into three sections that diverge and wake into reality, then spin off into the endorphin-induced unknown of composed collages. Despite the raw rhythm of the first few tracks, notably "Fixed Income" and "Walkie Talkie," Press plateaus into a nebulous void filled with minimal drum beats and colloquial samples, e.g. "Pure Energy." Just as your thoughts drift and morale drops, Shadow, in the same fashion as his breakout Endtroducing, regains momentum on the skit-like "Mashin' on the Motorway." Saving the best for last, "You Can't Go Home Again," a seven-minute piece saturated in emotion, is the grand culmination of the sampled sentiments scattered throughout the pages of the Press. Like dying, then waking to face another day, only fuzzy recollections are left in the back of the mind.


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