Name of Album: The Private Press
Ratings: Personal - 3 General - 3
Release Date: June 4, 2002
DJ Shadow's newest album the Private Press has much to live up to with his latest accolade by Muzik magazine which names his Entroducing album as "the greatest dance album of all -time". This is a powerful introduction to anything released thereafter.
Private Press certainly proves innovative and the variety of sound befits Shadow's stated purpose "to incorporate elements of all sorts into something hopefully new and innovative."
I found the album interesting, but I'm still not ready to pass judgment. In fact, I'm not sure I'll ever be. Shadow's selections are an uncomfortable mix that that neither clash nor coalesce, but more like slide off each other onto another plane, almost giving the cumulative sound an Escher effect—you just don't know that to make of it, where to start, or where to end. It is especially hard for me assess when I still have echoes of Koop's production masterpiece "Waltz for Koop" resounding in a reviewer's mind that places this work on the shelf of Plato's ideal forms, for this is the album that artist's wishing to create something entirely succinct should look to emulate. Shadow's Press undulates against such an oeuvre in the dimension of musical paragons, but does not move parallel in terms of aesthetic effect.
Aside from my esoteric fantasy of a an evaluation, I still found much merit in a few tracks in particular: the mix-master cuts and scratches on Walkie-Talkie and Right Thing both reminded me of classic hip-hop style reminiscent of Malcolm McLaren ("Buffalo Gals go round the outside"). I'd happily give up track 5, Giving Up the Ghost, for more of this spinning flavor.
Track 6, Six Days takes a cue from the title of the preceding track because the vocals and the synthesized sound are truly haunting. Eerie waves of watery keys combined with congas, marching band percussion and apocalyptic-like lyrics professing "tomorrow never comes till it's too late" cumulative sent soothing chills down my spine.
The press release touts the track Monosylabik as something groundbreaking, but it comes off quite discordantly as the opposite. I was never a fan of dada-nada music by experimenting rebels like John Cage, and this immaturely borders on that. You can't go home again was equally on the border of good taste for me, for it was like something dug up from the MTV archives in the 80s, English Beat meets Banarama vs. ABC.
Overall, only because I have to I give this record an honest 3. Like I mentioned before, the Jury's still out for me.