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The Private Press

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Album Review

Five years on from his breakout Endtroducing..., hip-hop's reigning recluse showed he still had plenty of tricks up his sleeve — as well as many more rare grooves left for sampling. Shadow had kept a low recording profile during past years, putting out only a few mix sets alongside a pair of collaborations (Psyence Fiction by UNKLE and Quannum Spectrum). That lack of product actually helps The Private Press display just how good a producer he is; the depth of his production sense and the breadth of his stylistic palette prove just as astonishing the second time out. His style is definitely still recognizable, right from the start; "Fixed Income" and "Giving Up the Ghost" carefully layer wistful-sounding string arrangements overtop cavernous David Axelrod breaks (the latter a bit reminiscent of "Midnight in a Perfect World" from Endtroducing...). From there, though, DJ Shadow seldom treads the same path twice, switching from strutting disco breaks ("Walkie Talkie") to melancholy '60s pop that sounds like the second coming of Procol Harum ("Six Days"). "Right Thing/GDMFSOB" is pure breakers revenge, boasting accelerating, echoey electro breakbeats and enough confidence to recycle Leonard Nimoy's "pure energy" sample and make it work. Later, Shadow turns to pure aggro for the hilarious road-rage comedy of "Mashin' on the Motorway" (with Lateef the Truth Speaker behind the wheel), then summons the conceptual calm of a David Axelrod classic on the very next track with solo piano and a vocal repeating Bible text. Fans may have grown impatient waiting almost six years for the second DJ Shadow LP, but a classic like The Private Press could last at least that long, and maybe longer. [Initially, most copies of The Private Press on sale in America included a track available for download as a bonus.]

Customer Reviews

Masterfully produced

When speaking of this piece, a word like "album" seems totally insufficient. Instead, it is an experience, so meticulously planned that something so simple as the track order seems to manipulatively influence your own perception of this journey. The album seems to be divided into two parts, bookended by scratchy home record samples. Part one contains the chill beats of "Fixed Income" as well as the more frenetic, in your face "Walkie Talkie" before seguing into the sweeping, organic "Giving Up the Ghost" and the dreamy, ethereal "Six Days." Ending the first half of the album is "Mongrel," a track that bleeds into "...Meets His Maker," effectively bridging the two sections of the LP. Next up is the almost autobiographical "Right Thing/GDMFSOB" and the electronica laced "Monosylabik, Pts. 1 & 2" followed by the hilarious, almost-skit like "Mashing on the Motorway." The album ends on darker notes with the death-oriented "Blood on the Motorway" and the haunting urgency of "You Can't Go Home Again." An absolute gem of an album with something for everyone.

Too Much....

This album hit me hard. When I first heard it, then everytime after when I listened to it. I spent days afterwords, then weeks after that, repeating "Letter From Home" in my head, speaking it (..."woke the family up") and then realizing finally why this album meant so much to me, made so much more of an impression somehow than the classic that is "Endtroducing...." "Blood on the Motorway" and "You Can't Go Home Again" are amazing, amazing songs, my personal favorites, and probably the ones that I continue to come back to most. At once lingering and pump-up-loud fun, "Private Press" is, in my opinion, Shadow's best. I came to his music from way out of hip-hop, like many of his fans, and found something truly surprising. Something that stayed with me. And this one does exactly that: it stays with you, for a while, sometimes hiding underneath, just below the surface, but there, long after you first hear it. "Ecouter: le show musicale!" "MUSIC MACHINE."


This album is very underrated because iTunes only lets you listen to 30 seconds of a song, and those 30 seconds could be the worst part of the song, but the other parts of the song can be so moving and touching that you just want to tell people how good this album really is. I am telling you..... buy this album!!!!


Born: 1972 in San Jose, CA

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

DJ Shadow's Josh Davis is widely credited as a key figure in developing the experimental instrumental hip-hop style associated with the London-based Mo' Wax label. His early singles for the label, including "In/Flux" and "Lost and Found (S.F.L.)," were all-over-the-map mini-masterpieces combining elements of funk, rock, hip-hop, ambient, jazz, soul, and used-bin finds. Although he'd already done a scattering of original and production work (during 1991-1992 for Hollywood Records) by the time Mo'...
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The Private Press, DJ Shadow
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