Pioneering producer/DJ/composer DJ Shadow has released his 8th studio album – Action Adventure – today on Mass Appeal/Liquid Amber. The album features 14 mostly instrumental tracks that represent a continued evolution for DJ Shadow. It’s a thrilling new addition to an influential body of work defined by a restless ear, always searching to rescue some forgotten gem from the dustbin of music history or a fresh blast of sound from the cutting edge.
He has also shared music videos for album singles “Ozone Scraper” and “You Played Me” – two songs that show off the synth-heavy sonic worlds that Shadow explores throughout the record. “You Played Me” was the result of serendipity, dropping the needle on an a capella track of a record he’d never listened to, over a beat that recalls a lost early 80s R&B classic. He says of the track, “it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made.” The music video was filmed in a still-operating cassette tape manufacturer in Missouri – National Audio Company – and Shadow has been hiding cassette tapes of the single at indie record stores worldwide.
Action Adventure evokes the halcyon days of video store browsing, a fitting title for an album brimming with soundscapes and the menacing, mysterious feel that is laced through all of his work. Making the album, which he started on January 1, 2022, pushed him deeper into his compositional bag than ever before. Though he isn’t classically trained, he asked himself questions like “which chord progression would be most natural here, and which would be least predictable?” and worked according to the inner logic that felt right to him. His rule for the record was simple: no compromises.
DJ Shadow has been releasing music for over three decades. His landmark debut Endtroducing…..was released in 1996, is considered one of the finest albums of that decade, and continues to influence new generations of artists. In the past few years he’s reached some tremendous new heights. 2016’s The Mountain Will Fall featured “Nobody Speak” with Run The Jewels. That single has long since gone gold, has nearly 100 million streams on Spotify, and continues to seep into the public consciousness as a soundtrack to countless spots in film and on TV. He returned in 2019 with Our Pathetic Age – a double LP featuring De La Soul (performing “Rocket Fuel” together on Jimmy Kimmel Live), Nas, Run the Jewels, Pusha T, Inspectah Deck and Ghostface among others. The first disc featured all instrumental, original compositions, a foreshadowing of how Action Adventure would take shape.
© 2023, Seth "Digital Crates" Barmash. All rights reserved.