DJ Shadow and The Avalanches / Thoughts On Hip-Hop and Musical Growth

DJ SHADOW record stacks2

I’m a bad. ass. motherfuckin dee jay / this is why I walk and talk this way

There comes a point in certain young lives when music evolves from a form of social currency to something to be enjoyed on a deeper personal level. It’s a headlong dive into a world most people use as wallpaper, geeking out over the sounds, hardware, history, and meaning of it all.

I was always rather independent in my music choices, but growing up in the midwest before broadband internet meant that my horizons were limited. The advent of file sharing programs like Morpheus, Kazaa, and Soulseek was a supernova moment for teenagers like me, desperately seeking new sounds. On the rare midnight-show occasion when something on the radio piqued my interest, I’d get on the computer to look them up, downloading a song or two in 30 minutes.

Before the internet, certain genres never had a chance to touch my ears. Once I’d taken the plunge, I started devouring every fresh thing I could. One was my favorite radio discovery ever, an album I’ve called my “desert island” record. It harkened back to something I’d heard in my youngest days, The Beastie Boys sampling landmark Paul’s Boutique. It boldly recycled sounds and tropes from across the musical spectrum into something vibrant and dangerous. It was entirely new to me.

Continue reading

Adventure Time – Dreams of Water Themes

Dreams of Water Themes is the stupendous result of a collaboration between Daedelus and Frosty, who christened themselves Adventure Time and cooked up a nautical stew of jazzy undercurrents, waves of turntablism, sampledelia swells, and clipped vocal crests, cut through with a crackling, frothy breeze.

adventuretimedreams

Check the end of this post for the full album stream.

It’s a unique project in the canon of modern beats, with the title and artwork indicating the type of hefty thematic glue unifying this far-flung enterprise – in other words, it’s one of the more cohesive electronic/hip-hop releases floating around. Fans of Daedelus’ opus Denies the Day’s Demise are in for a real treat; this LP hews closer to that record’s heights than any project he’s been involved in before or since. Loosely roiling keys, dizzy horns, vaguely mideastern strings and incisive, impeccably placed spoken samples drive the narrative thrust, while the constantly evolving yet self-referencing palate keeps two feet planted firmly on the deck through the half-hour-plus of churning beat seas.

There’s a certain whiff of Since I Left You rising off the whole affair, though it’s more respectful nod than straight homage or borrowed nostalgia; the pair acknowledge their forebears in the turntables-set-sail department without constantly reminding us of that towering landmark.¬†Adventure Time created an ambitious – but consciously playful – musical journey which begs to take listeners out on a freewheeling voyage through the high seas of rhythm exploration.

[spotify https://play.spotify.com/album/45uDj7nLn5vusHupk8ZUxQ]

[snag a digital copy at 7digital or get the cd at amazon with its attendant cool packaging]

The Avalanches – Since I Left You // My Desert Island Record

avalanches-SILY

Since this is the first post on my blog, I feel the need to share one of the truly essential albums in my life. Since I Left You, by The Avalanches.

Continue reading