You know that really impressionable period in your life where you don't really know anything about anything, and you meet a bunch of cool people and they introduce you to a bunch of bands, movies, concepts, etc that you take as gospel, and you're really excited because you look around and are like "this is the golden age of me! Everything is new and exciting!" During this fertile time for me (AKA "college"), I heard the Portishead, Let Us Play!, and Endtroducing albums for the first time and, collectively, they BLEW MY MIND. I admit, this was a corny time for me (snowboarder pants + eyebrow piercing = ugh), but if I hear these albums I'll still bliss out idiotically to them. Fortunately, they're all watersheds of mid/late 90s electronic music production, and have dated well. The full length that established DJ Shadow as "the Jimi Hendrix of the sampler" (what does that even mean) is still an eminently impressive production debut, almost 10 years later. Everyone knows it was made entirely out of samples, but at the core of this album, each track transcends beyond this limitation and becomes something truly new, making it a desert island pick. OK, enough already, here are the songs: "Building Steam With a Grain of Salt" has a crazy drum breakdown, "Number Song" is based off a Metallica sample, "Changeling" is in like 3/7 time, "Midnight In a Perfect World" is a genre-defining masterstroke, and "What Does Your Soul Look Like Pt 1" is the elegant capstone on the whole affair. If you were to ask me if this album is a must-own, I would stamp my fist into an open palm and screech "Yessssss!" 12 tracks total.
- 180g black double vinyl pressing
- high-quality UK import
- printed inner sleeves
- original release year: 1996
- music label: Mo Wax 2011
reviewed by the Woodman 11/2005