Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, Fri., July 2, 2004
DJ ShadowIn Tune and On Time: Live! (Geffen)
While any DJ worth his salt makes sure his mixes are on time, DJ Shadow takes the process one step further by making sure his segues are in tune as well. Recorded over two nights at the Brixton Academy in London in 2002, In Tune and On Time: Live! captures the precision of a hip-hop visionary hellbent on sophisticating his chosen genre. With Ben Stokes supplying three screens of corresponding visual mayhem on the accompanying DVD, Shadow's early 12-inch tracks such as "In/Flux" and "Lost and Found" mingle with LP cuts from his classics Endtroducing, The Private Press, and UNKLE's Psyence Fiction. Weaving a "cinematic experience," Shadow layers wavering drum patterns, ambient reflections, and a sea of manipulated vocals into a trance-induced fervor. Footage of drummer Malcolm Catto trading blows with Shadow's onslaught of scratches and sample stabs is bolstered by a Los Angeles showcase of Shadow, Cut Chemist, and Nu-Mark, culminating in an electro-conga climax on "Pushin' Buttons." In Tune and On Time: Live! is as an ideal account of a beat conductor at the height of his craft.