Record Bulletin

DJ Shadow – “The Mountain Will Fall” Review

dj shadow mountain will fallDJ SHADOW – The Mountain Will Fall (Mass Appeal): Nope. Not as good as Endtroducing….., Josh Davis’s out-the-gate masterpiece and pinnacle of plunderphonics, but we knew that, because A) nothing he’s done has ever been as good as Endtroducing….., and B) it’s pretty rare, though not impossible, for an artist who was doing his best stuff in his twenties to age like fine wine and be better in his forties. Now that that’s out of your system, focus on the good stuff: 1) Title track opener, an electronica blizzard building in momentum as the song reaches its summit, glitch bits whirring past in the wind as it crescendos. 2) Sick hip-hop romp “Nobody Speak” featuring Run the Jewels recounting every way they can whip your ass with a switch, a kung fu film’s guitar trickle seguing out of their verses into a fat horn section womp-womping over a fluid but simple rhythm. 3) Slurring sirens bouncing off each other in a match of Pong on “Bergschrund.” 4) The impending doom underpinning the Jaws-like guitar snarl echoing throughout “Depth Charge.” Yes, there are duds, particularly “California,” which has a thudding, runaway beat so long and so disorganized it’s as if Davis got up from his computer for a bathroom break only to have his cat program the ending by sitting on the keyboard. But his appeal way back when was sampling others’ work, and since the laws regarding creating that type of tapestry for profit have tightened significantly, he has to rely much more on his own creative intuition to craft compositions. So if The Less You Know, the Better or The Outsider didn’t convince you Davis still had it, The Mountain Will Fall’s your best bet. For someone who’s in the habit of releasing studio albums every five years or so, more stuff like this is just fine. B PLUS (***)

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