Mark­ing its 20th an­niver­sary, a deluxe reissue of a sam­pledelia classic.

HOW A COL­LEGE CRATE-DIGGER TURNED HIP-HOP IN­SIDE OUT WITH SAM­PLEDELIA.

Q (UK) - - Contents -

DJ SHADOW ENDTRODUCING (20TH AN­NIVER­SARY ENDTROSPECTIVE EDI­TION) IS­LAND, OUT NOW

Like a chilled Cal­i­for­nian an­swer to Rick Ru­bin, Josh Davis be­gan his trip-hop rev­o­lu­tion while still at the Univer­sity Of Cal­i­for­nia. Like Ru­bin, he was a young, white hip-hop fa­natic, but where the Def Jam co-founder pared early rap down to its raw es­sen­tials, Davis threw ev­ery­thing into the mix. He ran­sacked the base­ment of his lo­cal record store for dusty funk, jazz and sound­track rar­i­ties, slic­ing them up on his sam­pler and re­assem­bling the re­sults into free-form ex­per­i­ments, which had their roots in hip-hop yet sounded like some­thing com­pletely new. Ini­tially in­spired by East Coast pro­duc­ers such as Gang Starr’s DJ Premier, Davis was also at­tuned to wider de­vel­op­ments in elec­tronic mu­sic, not least emerg­ing UK hy­brids such as drum’n’bass. It wasn’t so sur­pris­ing, then, that it was Lon­don la­bel Mo’ Wax, run by James Lavelle, which picked up Endtroducing for re­lease in 1996. Sim­i­lar in spirit to West Coast duo The Dust Broth­ers, who had worked funkadelic mir­a­cles with the Beastie Boys and Beck, Endtroducing also shared DNA with Mas­sive At­tack’s dub-in­fused sound­clash and The Chem­i­cal Broth­ers’ block-rockin’ boom. Davis, though, was the first to put it all to­gether in a sin­gle pack­age. His Tech­ni­color jour­ney into sound not only forges un­ex­pected mu­si­cal con­nec­tions (Björk, meet David Ax­el­rod) but shows a vir­tu­oso feel for rhythm and melody, from the haunt­ing pi­ano riff threaded through Build­ing Steam With A Grain Of Salt, lifted from a 1970 cu­rio by rocker-turned-rabbi Jeremy Storch, to the wild block-party clat­ter of The Num­ber Song, which bor­rows its bass drone from Metallica’s Orion. Later com­par­ing him­self to a film di­rec­tor rather than a mu­si­cian, Davis also rev­els in or­ches­trat­ing dra­matic con­trasts and shifts in mood, as when the rolling groove and syn­the­sized vo­cal of What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4) morphs into Stem/Long Stem’s erup­tions of thrash metal drum­ming and bril­liant re­cy­cling of ’ 60s psych band Nir­vana. And while head-nod­der Mid­night In A Perfect World re­casts ’ 70s folk-jazz, the sec­ond half of Na­palm Brain/Scat­ter Brain echoes the ’ 90s drum’n’bass ex­per­i­ments of LTJ Bukem. Over the years Davis’s sonic tapestry has been picked apart and the rar­i­ties he dusted off are now on YouTube. But his foren­sic meth­ods proved a rev­e­la­tion, help­ing cre­ate a path­way for J Dilla’s in­stru­men­tal hip-hop, Brain­feeder’s elec­tronic jazz and cur­rent ab­stract beat­mak­ers such as Clams Casino. The lat­ter ap­pears on the patchy remix disc in­tended to en­hance this 20th an­niver­sary is­sue, with a warped take on Stem/Long Stem. It’s one of the bet­ter ef­forts, along­side Hud­son Mo­hawke’s bril­liantly edited Mid­night In A Perfect World. Though any­one who al­ready owns the orig­i­nal, let alone 2005’ s two-disc “deluxe” edi­tion, should be in no rush to up­grade; the disc of al­ter­nate mixes and demos is the same scat­ter­shot se­lec­tion which ac­com­pa­nied the 2005 re­lease. Even now, the al­bum hasn’t been re­mas­tered. But then it’s hard to im­prove on per­fec­tion. It still sounds fan­tas­tic. And while Davis him­self has made good records since, in­clud­ing 2002’ s The Pri­vate Press, he’s never got close to repli­cat­ing what makes his de­but so special. As its ouroboros-like ti­tle sug­gests, Endtroducing re­mains a daz­zling be­gin­ning and tri­umphant fi­nale all its own. RU­PERT HOWE Lis­ten To: Build­ing Steam With A Grain Of Salt | The Num­ber Song | Mid­night In A Perfect World

HE RAN­SACKED THE BASE­MENT OF HIS LO­CAL RECORD STORE FOR DUSTY FUNK, JAZZ AND SOUND­TRACK RAR­I­TIES.

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