Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DJ Shadow's Diminishing Returns: A Review

So it's been about twelve days since the last blog and my excuse is valid: I have worked forty or more hours over the past three weeks and twice worked six days in a row. I've also ignored my guitar, vegetables, regular sleeping habits, and until thirty seconds ago my amazing Canon SD880 (see picture above). Without further delay, I'm back to the blog. Here is a simple review about something nobody who reads this blog will care about but will have to deal with since I'm waiting for more water bugs to write about. Enjoy:


In 2003 DJ Shadow performed a live two hour set on BBC Radio known as Diminishing Returns and everyone but me heard about it. The set was so popular that much like everything else not released officially was immediately bootlegged, then temporarily released on tour, and now was finally re-released officially this May. It's a limited-edition for a limited time only. Limited.

Why is everything this guy puts out always limited and rare? Guess how long it took me to win Brainfreeze and Product Placement off eBay for less than $30 a piece. I've lost most of you, but continue reading.

Shadow has traveled the world searching for new and unheard music. He owns one of the largest vinyl collections filled with so much obscure hip hop, folk, rock, and electronica-ish music that it's no wonder these rare live mixes are so popular. I don't know if it's the excitement of listening to something long forgotten or ignored, but nobody blends it better than Shadow.

Diminishing Returns was an impulse buy peaking out in Shadow's categorical slot at Amoeba. As a fan who knew of the BBC session but couldn't think of a song from it, I was forced to buy it at a mere $22.95 as opposed to $50 on eBay in two years. The first disc is a jumble of hip hop both old and new, obscure and popular, message oriented and party favored. It's followed by another eighty minutes of weird out rock mixed with folk songs and everything else I kind of expect from a DJ Shadow record.

It's a solid release, a 3.5 out of 5. It's a good thing I listened to it about four times before writing this since my first impression was unjust. If I'd never heard anything DJ Shadow related before this release I'd probably be more blown away. I've come to expect this weird out mash of dusty vinyl from him the same way we all expect the Lakers to make the playoffs each year even when most clubs don't.

I was expecting a championship win, but I'll take a division winner especially if it's from DJ Shadow.

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