Shadow (why did he fall off?)

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  • yuichiyuichi Urban sprawl 11,318 Posts
    ???I put out records with hundreds of uncleared samples to this day, but I try to clear the ones that I think are most likely to cause a problem. I live in fear of getting a call five minutes from now with some lawyer saying, ???We want your house.??? I try to be conscious of who could be litigious, who could make a fuss over even a four-bar sample of a bass line. Which publishing companies are dangerous, which labels are watching. I???ve also learned the hard way that avant-garde jazz musicians listen. It doesn???t matter if they pressed two hundred copies of a record you sampled, they are out there and they will catch you.???

    I mean when you're as big as DJ Shadow was (is), yea, i bet these are all serious concerns that might hinder his creative abilities....

    Not really related but I was just listening to the MoWax comp. "Headz". First time hearing it, but there's some really dope tunes on it. Man, that period was great.

  • Hotsauce84Hotsauce84 8,451 Posts
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    DOR said:
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    You can still sample whatever you want.

    Yeah, Just ask Girl Talk.

    I mean, yeah. Or DJ Burn One. Or Flo-Rida.

    The game has changed. But you cannot lose if you do not play.

    As dope as he is, I don't think Burn One is attracting the kind of attention that could really REALLY hurt his wallet or his name in a lawsuit. (Actually, a lawsuit would probably help him more than hurt.) I mean, yeah, he uses very obvious, blatant loops but he's not quite on that level where he's as big a target as Shadow was back then. And as far as Flo-Rida goes, I'm sure he and/or his people take every precaution and pay a LOT of money to use the samples he does. He'd be stupid not to. Girl Talk is a DJ, no? Or is he making beats now?

    If Shadow dropped another Entroducing-esque album today, chances are it would be high profile and the sample spottin' lawyer sharks would be circling. (Isn't his wife one of those?) But yeah, there are definitely ways around it. Hire some musicians and sample their studio sessions, find an old (or young), obscure artist who owns his/her masters and help 'em earn some loot via album credits, etc. Don't just quit the game.

  • CBearCBear 902 Posts
    Maybe he's on the next next level and we either haven't caught up yet or just can't get there.

  • Controller_7Controller_7 4,052 Posts
    Endtroducing wasn't his one moment. All of the stuff (well most of it) on Preemptive Strike is just as good to me. The instrumentals from the Unkle album are up there for me too.

    Private Press is where he really starts laying on the cheese. Awesome technically and kind of cool in many ways, but all the "bad motherfuckin dj" and "pure energy" 80s dj callout type stuff is more on the corny side than on the cool throw back side. There are some great songs on there, but it's a weird compilation more than an album. Preemptive Strike is more of an album than Private Press.

    He's got the rare quality of being a technical genius in terms of sampling and also having a good ear for song structure. Chopping around the vocals on Third Guitar for Number Song and the Jimi drums on High Noon are examples of someone doing shit nobody else was really doing (to that extent at least). on the flip side of that type of technical wizardry, in/flux is a pretty amazing composition of restraint. He can be well rounded.

    I was a big fan and I have a ton of respect for what he did. I always, even in the height of my fanboy days, thought his image was corny. Snowboard goatee cargo real hip hop. He's just being him and he probably knows more about rap than most and it's clear his passion for music is genuine, it always just came across as corny to me.

    I don't blame him for wanting to do something different, but as I said in the post about his most recent album, I think he's such a fan of so many styles of music that he's completely lost any clear and focused vision of who he is as an artist or what type of music he's making.

  • akoako 3,409 Posts
    Controller_7 said:
    but all the "bad motherfuckin dj" and "pure energy" 80s dj callout type stuff is more on the corny side than on the cool throw back side.

    i think im alone on here in not having an issue with any of that stuff. thought it was cool.

  • JuniorJunior 4,853 Posts
    crabmongerfunk said:
    dowdiness is the new signifier for 'realness' a la alabama shakes, adele, etc...

    i enjoyed his stuff in the early 90's. it was different, progressive and good. then that "sound" (which in truth he jacked from david axelrod and others) got jacked by everyone and suddenly it started turning up in car commercials etc.. so maybe he just wanted to get away from all that. the same thing seemed to happen to portishead, his contemporary.

    sadly, everyone would probably been better off if both groups had taken rey's advice and just stayed in their wheelhouse for a couple of more albums to cement their careers and fanbase. for what it's worth i also think "tusk" was a mistake, they should have just done "rumours II".

    everything is so clear in hindsight.

    I'd probably have to disagree with the Portishead analogy, unless you're talking about their second album rather than their third? To me the third album was a great example about how to to keep the influences at the core of the group but also expand the sound - it sounded like Portishead but it didn't sound like their previous releases if that makes sense. Same with Tricky's second release.

    I'm not going to pretend to be all knowing in hindsight, I loved In/flux when it came out and it got me into Mo Wax releases in the first place, played Endtroducing to death and also listened to the tracks I liked on Psyence Fiction a lot at the time but when Private Press came out it left me totally cold. I'd have to go back and revisit to find out why exactly but it just didn't do anything for me at all. Maybe it is that I'd grown sick of instrumental trip/hip hop by then but I'd still like to believe that the right album could get me interested as it's not like I've stopped listening to electronic instrumental music.

    3 Freaks is probably the only track of his from the last ten plus years I liked.

  • akoako 3,409 Posts
    Junior said:
    when Private Press came out it left me totally cold. I'd have to go back and revisit to find out why exactly but it just didn't do anything for me at all. Maybe it is that I'd grown sick of instrumental trip/hip hop by then but I'd still like to believe that the right album could get me interested as it's not like I've stopped listening to electronic instrumental music.

    i felt the same way, my friend bought it on vinyl the day after it came out and brought it over. it was such a departure from endtroducing but now i can definitely appreciate it for what it is, although i cant really say its super cohesive as an album. endtroducing sounds like one complete album, private press sounds more like a collection of singles or something. its certainly grown on me quite a bit, but im still more likely to throw on endtroducing than private press.

    i downloaded the outsider, skipped around, and didnt find a single moment i liked though. :(

  • DocMcCoyDocMcCoy "Go and laugh in your own country!" 5,920 Posts
    ako said:
    LoopDreams said:
    The sample law's must have cramped his style too.

    forgive the ignorance, but what has changed since '92, 4 years before endtroducing was released? i dont keep up with sample law much.

    It wasn't so much a matter of the sample laws, which don't really exist in a formal sense - what many people imagine "the sample laws" to be are largely a collection of myths and misconceptions - but more the fact that Endtroducing turned out to be a hit. If it had remained as niche as batmon suggests that kind of thing usually does, Shadow could have carried on in much the same way as he had up to that point, and nobody would have been too bothered. But when the publicity for your critically-acclaimed debut album makes a big show of how it's constructed entirely from samples - none of which had been cleared at that point - you're going to attract a lot of unwelcome attention. A week or two after Endtroducing came out, I was talking to a guy from the publisher that'd signed Shadow. "You do realise," I said to him, "that it's all samples?" This guy got quite angry at what he saw as a suggestion that they'd knowingly get involved in what amounted to large-scale copyright infringement. I thought to myself, "You guys really have no idea what you've signed here, have you?" There were still unresolved sample issues on songs from Endtroducing by the time I finished working for his publisher, and that was twelve years after the record came out.

    Having to make the formalities of sample clearance a principle consideration has undoubtedly cramped his style, though. Whilst I don't claim to know too many intimate details, I gather that by the time he began working on The Private Press, Shadow was worried that having to clear the samples would eat up nearly all of his publishing, as it had almost done with Endtroducing. I know for a fact that being unable to clear certain samples because he can't trace the rights owners has ended up costing him a lot of money, ironically enough. The songs in question can't ever be licensed for movies, TV or ads because the legal liabilities of licensing material you don't have the rights to isn't a risk his label or publisher is willing to bear. It makes sense, then, that he's going to want to move away from solely sample-based music, as much for economic reasons as artistic ones. Shadow's problem there, however, is that his compositional ear for samples is his main musical strength, and the limits he's begun to place on himself in that respect have had the effect of making his records a lot less interesting.

  • DocMcCoyDocMcCoy "Go and laugh in your own country!" 5,920 Posts
    DOR said:
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    You can still sample whatever you want.

    Yeah, Just ask Girl Talk.

    Don't ever expect to get a record deal or a publishing contract out of it, though. As soon as you try to actually sell that shit in quantity, you'll disappear under an avalanche of C&D notices.

  • BeatnicholasBeatnicholas 1,005 Posts
    great post doc, i'm sure the whole thing must have been a nightmare. its nice with "underground" hip hop records that sell a few thousand these days cause the numbers aren't big enough to piss anyone off, people never seem to bother to clear samples and usually just wait to see who calls them up. from what i understand, when it does happen, the process is usually fairly amicable. like you said, the point at which the figures become massive is the point at which the c & d clusterfuck begins. and then you have the errata of certain artists who detest sampling throwing the book at the samplist, which is a whole other kettle of fish.

  • RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,525 Posts
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    I don't know. Sometimes you lose the thread.

    You can still sample whatever you want.

    He can sample all the poor Texas funk musicians he conned into giving him the masters?

  • BurnsBurns 2,227 Posts
    Controller_7 said:
    Endtroducing wasn't his one moment. All of the stuff (well most of it) on Preemptive Strike is just as good to me. The instrumentals from the Unkle album are up there for me too.

    Private Press is where he really starts laying on the cheese. Awesome technically and kind of cool in many ways, but all the "bad motherfuckin dj" and "pure energy" 80s dj callout type stuff is more on the corny side than on the cool throw back side. There are some great songs on there, but it's a weird compilation more than an album. Preemptive Strike is more of an album than Private Press.

    He's got the rare quality of being a technical genius in terms of sampling and also having a good ear for song structure. Chopping around the vocals on Third Guitar for Number Song and the Jimi drums on High Noon are examples of someone doing shit nobody else was really doing (to that extent at least). on the flip side of that type of technical wizardry, in/flux is a pretty amazing composition of restraint. He can be well rounded.

    I was a big fan and I have a ton of respect for what he did. I always, even in the height of my fanboy days, thought his image was corny. Snowboard goatee cargo real hip hop. He's just being him and he probably knows more about rap than most and it's clear his passion fo6r music is genuine, it always just came across as corny to me.

    I don't blame him for wanting to do something different, but as I said in the post about his most recent album, I think he's such a fan of so many styles of music that he's completely lost any clear and focused vision of who he is as an artist or what type of music he's making.



    My sentiment as well.

    I thought Pre Strike album was a collection of 12" singles? That album did it for me, it had a acid psych thing to it. Where people around
    here were calling his schitt acid jazz at the time. Whatever.

    The "Lost and Found" with DJ Krush did it for me to. U2 drums with a Grateful Dead (don't quote me on that, but sure sounds like it) instru. sample.

    I though the spoken word songs and "You Can't Go Home Again" on Private Press were amazing.

  • JuniorJunior 4,853 Posts
    Burns said:

    I thought Pre Strike album was a collection of 12" singles? That album did it for me, it had a acid psych thing to it. Where people around
    here were calling his schitt acid jazz at the time. Whatever.

    The "Lost and Found" with DJ Krush did it for me to. U2 drums with a Grateful Dead (don't quote me on that, but sure sounds like it) instru. sample.


    Yeah, as far as I'm aware from what I already had, I think most of the tracks on Pre-Emptive Strike were from before or recorded at the same time as Endtroducing, same with the Duality track on Meiso.

    Disappointed by the lack of Josh references in this thread.

  • JectWonJectWon (@_@) 1,654 Posts
    The first thing that confused me about Shadow was that, from 1996-2000, it felt like he was releasing the same album (with the exception of Unkle). Entroducing/Pre-Emptive and the Dark Days sound track were all basically the same thing for me...it felt like he was resting on his laurels after having only made 1 LP...albeit a legendary LP.

    As far as 'falling off' I can't say I know what that means to me anymore...if it refers to the idea that he lost his fanbase, then the answer is obvious...Private Press was a hard left turn off of what he was doing previously....Private Press made Radiohead's transition from OK Computer to Kid A look miniscule....the majority of Shadow's fns did not take that turn with him...and I wouldn't have expected them to.

    If 'falling off' refers to his sales or commercial success...I don't know if he has 'fallen off'....seems like I still hear Shadow's work on video games, events, commercials, etc.

  • JectWonJectWon (@_@) 1,654 Posts
    RAJ said:
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    I don't know. Sometimes you lose the thread.

    You can still sample whatever you want.

    He can sample all the poor Texas funk musicians he conned into giving him the masters?

    Whoa, that sounds interesting....anyplace I can go for details on this?

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    Shadow fell off because when people talk about him and his music, they aren't talking about all the fun or whatnot it caused them to have from listening to it. Instead, they talk about sampling laws and how big his record collection is and other such snoozefest.

  • RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,525 Posts
    JectWon said:
    RAJ said:
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    I don't know. Sometimes you lose the thread.

    You can still sample whatever you want.

    He can sample all the poor Texas funk musicians he conned into giving him the masters?

    Whoa, that sounds interesting....anyplace I can go for details on this?


  • RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,525 Posts
    To say he lost his fanbase is silly. He has over 600,000 Facebook Likes??? if that means anything.

  • pcmrpcmr 5,591 Posts
    i never checked for anything after endtroducing (influential album for me growing up)
    and except for some mixes he hosts and cool tracks for 30sec in youtube brainfreeze videos i feel i've missed nothing truly important

  • FlomotionFlomotion 2,386 Posts
    Sounds like Shadow just moved on and left his older fans behind. Not sure if that really counts as falling off or just moving along. I know if I was him I'd be bored stiff doing the same old cut'n'shoves15 years on.

  • DJ_EnkiDJ_Enki 6,471 Posts
    Controller_7 said:

    He's got the rare quality of being a technical genius in terms of sampling and also having a good ear for song structure. Chopping around the vocals on Third Guitar for Number Song and the Jimi drums on High Noon are examples of someone doing shit nobody else was really doing (to that extent at least). on the flip side of that type of technical wizardry, in/flux is a pretty amazing composition of restraint. He can be well rounded.

    Totally agree with this. And I would like to point out that this joint still bangs hard:



    What are the drums on this again? Somebody played them for me years ago, and I forgot what they are.

  • LuminLumin 807 Posts
    id also think that the sample spotting and money claims squeezed shadow into changing his direction/sound.
    i havent been interested in anything past private press. plus i think his taste changed as well. that is part of getting older and getting put on to/discovering different records.
    yall realize that endtroducing eventually went platinum, right?

  • DelayDelay 4,530 Posts
    Lumin said:
    id also think that the sample spotting and money claims squeezed shadow into changing his direction/sound.
    i havent been interested in anything past private press. plus i think his taste changed as well. that is part of getting older and getting put on to/discovering different records.
    yall realize that endtroducing eventually went platinum, right?
    there's a big difference between being a dj and being a musician. when the income from sales hit the floor, artists rely on liscensing and writing credit for money. if all your music is published and written by others, you don't get any of that dough. take away samples, and djs are pissing in the wind.

    i think shadow is a seriously talented dj. all his mixes still keep me company on road trips, but i can't imagine there's any money in that.

  • discos_almadiscos_alma discos_alma 2,164 Posts
    Controller_7 said:

    I don't blame him for wanting to do something different, but as I said in the post about his most recent album, I think he's such a fan of so many styles of music that he's completely lost any clear and focused vision of who he is as an artist or what type of music he's making.

    Bingo. Taking it a bit further, I think he is obsessed with trying to show people how many different styles of music he is about. He tries to cover too many bases and in the process creates albums that don't work. Some artists don't have to make cohesive albums and instead rely on singles to carry weight, but with Shadow I think that a large portion of his fan base STILL expects a solid album out of him that probably won't ever get made.

  • CraigCraig 269 Posts
    I know the guy has a talent and a good ear for stuff, but too be honest his bores me to death, don't get the hype at all!


  • DustedDonDustedDon 830 Posts
    i dont think he "fell off"... dude can still sell out shows anywhere.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    Doesnt Blowfly sell out shows too?

    Lets be real. He was at one time a media darling.

    Despite touring dude has lost alot of heat especially after the Hyphy project.

    This is a way different "industry" compared to the late 90's.

  • YNOTYNOT in a studio apt mixing tuna with the ramen 405 Posts
    DustedDon said:
    i dont think he "fell off"... dude can still sell out shows anywhere.



    Right? Pretty sure he is making a healthy living doing whatever he wants musically. If that's falling off guess he fell off hard. The new LP was way better than the last one too, took me a few listens to get.

  • nrichnrich 932 Posts
    DJ_Enki said:
    Controller_7 said:

    He's got the rare quality of being a technical genius in terms of sampling and also having a good ear for song structure. Chopping around the vocals on Third Guitar for Number Song and the Jimi drums on High Noon are examples of someone doing shit nobody else was really doing (to that extent at least). on the flip side of that type of technical wizardry, in/flux is a pretty amazing composition of restraint. He can be well rounded.

    Totally agree with this. And I would like to point out that this joint still bangs hard:



    What are the drums on this again? Somebody played them for me years ago, and I forgot what they are.




  • DJ_EnkiDJ_Enki 6,471 Posts
    nrich said:
    DJ_Enki said:
    Controller_7 said:

    He's got the rare quality of being a technical genius in terms of sampling and also having a good ear for song structure. Chopping around the vocals on Third Guitar for Number Song and the Jimi drums on High Noon are examples of someone doing shit nobody else was really doing (to that extent at least). on the flip side of that type of technical wizardry, in/flux is a pretty amazing composition of restraint. He can be well rounded.

    Totally agree with this. And I would like to point out that this joint still bangs hard:



    What are the drums on this again? Somebody played them for me years ago, and I forgot what they are.




    Gracias!
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