My favorite album of all time is “Endtroducing” by DJ Shadow.  If I was to be so corny and suggest I make beautiful music with a woman, I’d say let’s make “Endtroducing” together instead.  I feel one is not complete until they own and enjoy this album.

Released in 1996, Endtroducing has the distinction of being in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the first album made out of entirely sampled sources;  it is in its most basic an instrumental hip hop album.  However if you hear the term instrumental hip hop and think that is the same as listening to a Lil Wayne CD with no vocals, you are extremely mistaken.

Endtroducing is an odyssey in Americana.  The samples range from jazz to funk to TV Shows to psychedelic to blues to hip hop, to just about anything.  The amount of samples on this album is staggering.  I have not heard any other album that even attempts to do with this album did.

What Shadow does is densely layer his samples, creating completely unique pieces of music.  You might be hearing say 5 samples at the same time, but they all came from different sources.  The man had to listen to endless records to find sounds that matched up.  In many ways I think it was harder to do it like this than actually compose the music.  The sounds blend together perfectly, as if they had been meant to be together all along.

For someone who doesn’t fully understand what was entailed to make the album, it may make appreciating it as much as someone who does a little more difficult.  To me, the album represents raw power, something like when Michael Jordan was playing basketball in his prime.  The album was made on one drum machine/sampler, the Akai MPC60.  I don’t think the makers of that device could have ever envisioned someone using their product in such an effective and innovative way.

While in it’s broadest sense it is a hip hop album because of the fact it has beats, one needs to listen to this like it were a jazz or classical album.  In pop or hip hop music you can listen to say 30 seconds of a song and you have heard everything it contains for the most part.  These songs take time to develop.  If you skip a track after 30 seconds, you literally have nothing to tell what you missed.

Bottom line, the album is fuckin ethereal, visceral and profound.  Take my advice, buy this album, get fucked up on whatever you get fucked on, lay back and let this album take you away.

To give you a taste, I have posted links to my favorite track on the album and the track on the album that was the only single released.

My favorite:  Building Steam With a Grain of Salt

The video for the single:  Midnight In a Perfect World

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