For his fourth studio album, DJ Shadow explores a wide range of genres. Alongside the familiar cut-and-paste hip-hop/beats tracks, he ventures into metal, folk, blues, and more. The result is a mixtape-like album that hits on many levels, and despite the variety of ideas thrown into the mix, The Less You Know, the Better in its entirety come sounding coherent and articulate. For picks, check out the simple and beautiful "Sad and Lonely," or the energetic, rocking "Border Crossing" ("I Gotta Rokk" also great on that rock note). The Bob Dylan-esque "I've Been trying" also stands out, as does "Scale It Back," a track featuring Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano. Another highlight of the album is "Stay The Course" featuring Talib Kweli and Posdnuos of De La, a funkly, shuffling beat-driven hip-hop tune with the mcs trading quality verses.
- music label: Island
reviewed by nakinboots 11/2011