Album: DJ Shadow, The Less You Know the Better (Island)

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The Independent Culture

The title could be an unwitting subtext about the legal minefield of sampling: already, DJ Shadow has had to pull a lead-off EP track from this album because of sample-clearance problems, and the remaining tracks, in general, seem to offer more guarded approaches to the sample-collaging process than on his previous albums.

There's a pronounced shortfall of his usual joyous eclecticism here, with many pieces settling for basic repetitive sequences; some sound like little more than extended intros. "Enemy Lines" and "I Gotta Rock" are plodding guitar riffs in Queens of the Stone Age robot-rock manner; "Sad and Lonely" and "Redeemed" are exercises in prog-folk, and "Run for Your Life" a genial bout of scurrying wah-wah funk. Despite its risky title, "Tedium" is actually one of the more intriguing pieces, a spookily atmospheric dub throb.

DOWNLOAD THIS: Tedium; Run for Your Life; Stay the Course