He is to the sample what Hendrix is to the riff. In the wake of his fourth album, and the 15th anniversary of his groundbreaking first, a quintet of his fundamentals.
Before 1996, Josh Davis was a crate-digging vinyl junkie, remixing and repurposing records as part of a fledgling ‘trip-hop’ scene. Then came Endtroducing, an album made entirely from samples and perhaps the single most inspirational long-player of the last 20 years. It raised the magpie method of making music to a level it has rarely reached since, and is as cherished by rappers as it is by purveyors of dance, hip-hop, electro and a dozen other musical genres. If you build it, Shadow was saying, they will come and listen. His recently released album, The Less You Know, The Better, shows he can still make the cut. Here he picks the tracks that drove him to become a musician.
Grandmaster Flash, The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel
This song is the blueprint of everything I believe in as a DJ. Grandmaster Flash took a bunch of elements from different types of music – including Chic’s disco classic Good Times and Another One Bites The Dust by Queen – and put them together to make a new statement. I was 12 when I bought this: my first rap record. That was when I knew I wanted to be a DJ.
Double Dee and Steinski, Lesson 3
I called my first track Lesson 4 in honour of this. In 1985, Steinski and Double Dee came up with an insane sound collage using audio from breakdance hits and TV ads. It was one of the most important tracks in DJ history. I met Steinski a few years back and held the original reel-to-reel tape in my hands. It might well have been the best day of my life.
Find all of DJ Shadow's favourite records in November's issue of The Red Bulletin.