Read: A journey into sound - ‘Endtroducing’ (20 years on) by DJ Shadow (Mo’ Wax)

Two decades ago. I was an enthusiastic vinyl junkie, immersed in all things musical, working full time at my personal ministry of sound, Marbecks. My dream job at the time, allowed me to explore and expand my musical horizons from within the creatively refreshing non-confines of this left of centre family music shop.

I love 80's Hip Hop and had built a multi crate collection of beats and rhymes, constructed from the sturdy studios of Hank Shocklee and the Bomb Squad (Public Enemy), Marley Marl (Salt’n’Pepa) and the cut’n;paste collages of noise carved from Bomb the Bass, Steinski and Grandmaster Flash. Always on the hunt for more sonic substances, I needed a new style, something taking nods from the past with a fresh feel and future technological leap to take my Walkman into digital territory. 

Then, out from the dark shadows of my crate ridden cellars came the answer to my homeboy hankerings, a full bodied colossus of an album emerged, more wax for my needful needle and an epic entrance into the new valley of volume and bass booming badness.

My first giddy listening to ‘Endtroducing’, a debut slab of sound from American crate digger DJ Shadow, shook my expectations to the core, promising a superbly selected hip hop history lesson transmitted from the Brooklyn bridge of the sound ship ‘Enterprise’.
From the first crackling notes of ‘Best Foot Forward’, this new wave of big-beat excited my senses whilst containing all the eerie mystique of a Sunday horror viewing. ‘Building Steam with a Grain of Salt’ slowly, but surely builds a tenuous tension from spoken word samples and pinched piano stabs, before descending into the now signature riff ridden raucousness of ‘The Number Song’.
My personal all time faves ‘Organ Donor’, ‘What does your soul look like’ and ‘Midnight in a Perfect World’ define an error in altered fusions of sound. Taking the dusty grooves from Grandpas’ jazz 78’s and stretching their sonic capacity to rap around the 808 state of New York beats, Shadow rewinds unknown loops and breaks, taking them to new parties and bedroom exploration.

Two decades on, the fuzzy funk lives on with a dynamic deluxe edition featuring re-rubs and remixes from some of today’s cut chemists.
For me I prefer to remain true to the original offering. That unknown record, or unidentifiable vocal sample, all part of the eternal journey into sound, a pleasurable pursuit perfected through the cans and crafting of whoever takes the time to indulge in all things vinyl.    
‘Endtroducing’ still conjures up those too regular vinyl missions to Real Groovy and Corner Records, with a wallet full of notes and the whole day to peruse bins of beats with the hope of finding that missing ‘Streetsounds’ vinyl or white label promo 12” slab at the back of the stacks.

Why not try some of these true schooled beats, care of the Auckland Libraries vaults.
James Lavelle's own output Unkle, best of DJ Shadow, Reconstructed, or the equally excellent DJ Krush, Stepping Stones. Go on, you know you want to!


Thanks for listening.
Dave Tucker
    

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