By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
“Six Days” is a pop hijack in the style of Moby’s “Honey”: entire vocal track lifted and thrown onto new beat. The sampled eunuch is catchy, the shimmering beat is shimmery, and the message, appropriately vague for the demographic, seems to imply that war is good for absolutely nothing. And “Six Days” is verifiably from some tiny municipality within hip-hop. Is it the tempo, the chiaroscuro, the sonics?
Just like Dave Eggers telling us, very accurately, which parts of his book are going to fail, a built-in Macintosh computer voice announces, “Welcome to fear, side 2.” The shortfalls of “Ghost” become a free fall into music that isn‘t exactly one thing or the other. The Endtroducing clone “Mongrel Meets His Maker” sounds more like Ferrante & Teicher (“Theme From The Young and the Restless”) than Ennio Morricone and goes nowhere that isn’t accurately described as schlock.
“Monosylabik” (apparently made from a single two-bar loop) reviews territory picked clean by electronicats like Squarepusher and Matmos. If sampler-programming virtuosity is your cup of tea, you‘ll probably send this track to your friends with a note saying, “Dude is sick.” “Washing on the Motorway” is funny, or something, and based around Lateef the Truth Speaker playing the role of “fast driver” while people yell at him and the beat gets faster and faster. Nine minutes (days?) long, “Blood on the Motorway” might make sense if it were a Boogie Nights outtake of Alfred Molina trying to write a tune for Kim Carnes. It is not. There is no explaining a nine-minute song that makes us, first, think we are listening to Eric Carmen sing and then, second, wish we were. The closer, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” is an improvement only because it‘s shorter and faster. The overall similarity of the second half of this album to unused chase sequences from Risky Business could lead you to believe that sampling crap records can distort your sense of “crap” and “not crap,” but Shadow doesn’t feel like he‘s struggling here. The misses still have his old clarity, but, straight up, his rock and new wave suuuuuck.
Bob Dylan “discovered” he was a 60-year-old man when he was 19 and hasn’t blinked since. Steve Malkmus found that the best place to recite poetry is behind a microphone in front of a ‘70s boogie band. Mick Jagger chose to play the eternal one-night stand when Keith didn’t show for the gig and, defying science and God, didn‘t lose the role when the venues changed. Shadow is the kid who heard oceans in hip-hop and wanted to prove he wasn’t imagining things. As voices go, he could do a lot worse.
DJ Shadow performs at the Mayan Theater, Wednesday, June 12.
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