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Another magnificent display from DJ Shadow

With "Our Pathetic Age", the Californian producer delivers a thrilling double album, with featurs from Nas, De La Soul, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and many others...

Door Smaël Bouaici | Video van de dag | 20 november 2019

Those who are feeling nostalgic about 90s hip-hop can be rest assured: DJ Shadow has more left in the tank. Over twenty years after Endtroducing… the Bay Area producer has released Our Pathetic Age, one of his best records yet and certainly one of his most comprehensive since it comprises a double album where each track is as good as the last. Even Shadow considers it his most “cohesive” album since his 4-part EP What Does Your Soul Look Like from 1994.

The first disc showcases his instrumental side. As a pioneer of abstract hip-hop, Shadow’s music is impressive right from the off with the atmospheric soundscape of Slingblade. On Firestorm he proves that he can play the piano like few others on the rap scene, while the single Rosie (which samples from Little Rosie, a song from 1962 by the vocal trio The Phoenix Singers) encapsulates the different facets of DJ Shadow’s style. He describes the song as “a three-part voyage through my evolution as a beatmaker”. Equally brilliant are the tracks If I Died Today and We Are Always Alone.

The second disc of Our Pathetic Age boasts a dazzling list of featuring artists, with a number of figures from hip-hop’s “golden years”. We find Nas and Pharoahe Monch on the 80s beat of Drone Warfare, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah from Wu Tang Clan on Rain On Snow, and even De la Soul on the funky scratch-packed hit Rocket Fuel.

It’s hard not to mention Gift of Gab’s performance, half of the Blackalicious duo, who gives a lesson in flow on C.O.N.F.O.R.M., as well as the narcotic hit Small Colleges (Stay With Me) with Wiki from the New York crew Ratking and Paul Banks, the singer from Interpol, as well as the wistful song Dark Side of the Heart, featuring the R&B singer Fantastic Negrito. 26 tracks of pure delight.


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