Review: DJ Shadow, The Private Press

Ripe for repeat listens, the album quickly takes on its own identity.

DJ Shadow, The Private PressAnyone looking to be reintroduced to the Josh Davis of Endtroducing… will likely be disappointed with his long-awaited follow-up, The Private Press. A few tracks hint at Endtroducing…’s vintage reconstruction (the multi-layered “Fixed Income” and the two-part “Mongrel Meets His Maker,” both filled with Morricone-style guitar passages), but the bulk of The Private Press is packed with more brawn than beauty. In addition to his prized vinyl, it seems Davis has dipped into his tape collection this time around—’80s synth-pop sounds and samples make retro guest appearances on tracks like “Right Thing/GDMFSOB” and the epic, almost operatic “Blood on the Motorway.” While it may be different from his insta-classic debut, The Private Press still gets its groove on. “Giving Up the Ghost” gradually builds layers of harmonic guitar tones and distant cellos in true DJ Shadow style while “Six Days,” comprised of a sparse collage of samples, sounds as if it’s from another, simpler time. The vocal samples take center stage too often, though, and seem derivative of Moby’s Play. Ripe for repeat listens, the album quickly takes on its own identity and hell, like the final track’s title insists, maybe it’s true that you can’t go home again.

 Label: MCA  Release Date: June 4, 2002  Buy: Amazon

Sal Cinquemani

Sal Cinquemani is the co-founder and co-editor of Slant Magazine. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Village Voice, and others. He is also an award-winning screenwriter/director and festival programmer.

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