DJ Shadow-Private Press. 

Label: UMC.

On September the ’16th’ 1996, DJ Shadow released his critical acclaimed landmark debut album Endtroducing…..on the label Mo Wax Recordings. Endtroducing….which featured uptempo jams and slow, dark and broody tracks was inspired by early hip hop and was hailed as a genre classic-in-waiting. 

It was no surprise when Endtroducing….was certified gold in Britain and Canada and sold over 290,000 copies in America. Critics called DJ Shadow one of hip hop’s rising stars and forecast a great future for the twenty-four year old DJ, producer record collector.

By then, DJ Shadow had amassed a 60,000 record collection which he had sampled extensively on Endtroducing….and on his early singles which  featured  on Preemptive Strike. It was released to plaudits and praise by Mo Wax Recordings on January the ’13th’ 1998 and featured singles released by DJ Shadow between 1991 and 1997. Preemptive Strike was another tantalising reminder of what DJ Shadow was capable of.

A year later, in 1999, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist released their first live album Brainfreeze. This was the first of a quartet of live albums DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist would release between 1999 and 2008.

Nearly four years after the release of Endtroducing….DJ Shadow entered the The Parlor Of Mystery studio in August 2000 to begin recording his sophomore studio album Private Press. By then, DJ Shadow had signed to MCA Records as he began recording the much-anticipated followup to Endtroducing….which was regarded as a genre classic.

DJ Shadow had recorded Endtroducing….between 1994 and 1996, but spent just over year recording  Private Press. It was completed in December 2001, and by then DJ Shadow had released another live album.

This was Product Placement  which was released in 2001, and was the second live album from DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist. Product Placement  was only released at DJ Shadow’s gigs between 2001 and 2003. 

By then, DJ Shadow has released his much-anticipated sophomore album Private Press on CD and a 2 LP set on June the ‘4th’ 2002. Now sixteen years later, Private Press was reissued by UMC as a  2 LP set. Nearly six years after the release of Endtroducing….DJ Shadow was back with Private Press.

When Private Press was released it was to widespread critical acclaim. Critics in Britain and America were won over by Private Press. DJ Shadow had sampled forty-three tracks ranging from novelty tracks to hidden gems and rarities. They were part of the musical tapestry that was Private Press.

Now thirty, DJ Shadow showcases his versatility and production skills on Private Press. Even after a couple of carefully crafted tracks it’s obvious that Private Press is a DJ Shadow album. It opens with the musical amuse-bouche (Letter From Home) before Fixed Income and later, Giving Up The Ghost feature melancholy, string-drenched arrangements that sit atop various sampled breaks. This becomes a pattern as DJ Shadow hops between genres on Private Press.

On Walkie Talkie it’s swaggering disco breaks and wistful sixties pop Six Days through to Right Thing/GDMFSOB where the tempo rises and there’s breaks aplenty. DJ Shadow unleashes a myriad of effects including echo amidst the electro breakbeats before he drops in Leonard Nimoy’s pure energy sample which is a masterful inclusion. 

Mashin’ On The Motorway is described as road rage comedy and features Lateef The Truth Speaker. It’s followed by Blood On The Motorway where a lone vocal is combined with a vocal that repeats a biblical text. This proves effective and is followed by You Can’t Go Home Again, before a reprise of (Letter from Home)  closes Private Press, which was DJ Shadow’s long-awaited sophomore album.

After DJ Shadow released Endtroducing….which was his critically acclaimed debut album, many critics wondered how would he would followup a genre classic? DJ Shadow returned to the studio where he used his trusty sampler to create a genre-melting album. 

Disco, electronica, funk, hip hop, jazz, pop, soul and trip hop were combined by DJ Shadow as he spent over a year piecing Private Press together until his second genre classic was complete. DJ Shadow had followed up Endtroducing…with Private Press which was a fitting followup to one of the best hip hop albums of the nineties,

Prior to the release of Private Press, DJ Shadow was still regarded as one of hip hop’s rising stars. However, DJ Shadow came of age on his sophomore album Private Press which was his second genre classic and sixteen years later is still one of his finest moments.

DJ Shadow-Private Press.

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