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The Less You Know, The Better (Deluxe Edition)

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iTunes Review

The Less You Know, the Better finds DJ Shadow (Josh Davis) returning to entirely sample-based music. A longtime crate digger, Davis creates beats and mixes from the ground up, snipping samples from LPs and weaving them into dense cut-and-paste works of art. In terms of format, this is comparable to his landmark release Endtroducing…. There’s much to savor here and new things to discover with each listen. Davis uses long samples and recognizable song forms as he genre-hops between classic hip-hop (“Back to Front” and “Stay the Course” featuring Posdnous and Talib Kweli), heavy metal (“Border Crossing”), hard rock (“Warning Call,” “I Gotta Rokk”), folk (“I’ve Been Trying”), techno (“Def Surrounds Us”), and a wistful and unexpected piano ballad that gets two treatments (“Sad and Lonely” and “(Not So) Sad and Lonely”). Trippy vocal snippets, turntable scratching, and moments of sublime ambient beauty are sprinkled throughout, making The Less You Know, The Better an enjoyable if uneven listening experience from this defiantly old-school DJ.

Customer Reviews

Outsider Wasn't a Fluke

Honestly, I wasn't expecting a ton from this album. There was a time that I considered DJ Shadow my favorite artist -- Endtroducing, Pre-Emptive Strike, Psyence Fiction, all those amazing b-sides...everyone knows this guy's credentials. I sought out anything with his name on it and bought all of his albums multiple times, to give away to people. But when Outsider dropped a few years ago, I, like most fans, was really taken aback. I wondered where this guy's musical taste wandered off to, and whether it would ever come back.

While this album is better than the last, it's not by much. I just feel a little bad for him at this point. This is someone who thinks the grating hard-rock guitar riffs of "Border Crossing" are a good way to kick-off an album. I don't know where to start here, so I'll just summarize -- his once-impeccable musical taste, called into question by The Outsider, may be gone for good folks. For someone once called the "Jimi Hendrix of the sampler", many of these songs are just totally lazy, looping the same thing over and over for 3 minutes with minimal tweaks, or letting the vocals from some song just play all the way out. Some are so-so, but overly long. I've listened to this album 3 times now, and there's only a few songs on here I actually want to hear again at this point.

After dissing fans who wanted to hear more music like the amazing Endtroducing during his last album cycle, he recently claimed this LP would appease them to some extent. Maybe that's true for some, and I'm just a hater. But I'm losing faith in this guy's ability to make anything truly great anymore.

Shadow is back

I've been a shadow fan for years and after my first listen this sounds like it could be some of his best work to date.
I was a little disappointed with his last cd and wasn't real impressed with I gotta rokk, but this album delivers.

DJ Shadow

Been a fan for a long time, but by far this is DJ Shadow's best album. You can tell his style in every song, but each one is still new and fresh. Nice mix of vocals make each song unique (Scale it Back). Check out the interview DJ Shadow had with WIRED magazine for a full run down of what he thinks of his latest work. Well worth the $9.99 for the Deluxe 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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