There’s so little that can be said about ‘Endroducing’, Shadow’s 1996 debut that hasn’t been said before. The word seminal is no overstatement. At the time of release (on Mo Wax records) the instrumental hip-hop album was nothing short of a revelation. It’s a benchmark, illustrating off the chain sampling skills but more than that, an encyclopaedic knowledge and love of myriad musical genres; classical, funk, film soundtracks, jungle, jazz drumming and psychedelia.
His subsequent work has arguably never equalled it (let’s forget the ill advised hyphy experiments for instance). Possibly only the collaboration with James Lavelle as Unkle comes close to its majesty; the tracks from ‘Psyence Fiction’ featuring Richard Ashcroft and Thom Yorke are undisputable stone cold classics. These are included on this sixteen-track compilation alongside others from his five studio albums. The big juicy bass, brass and flutes on ‘Skullfuckery’ from ‘The Outsider’ are pure class, as is the jazzy, nightime interlude from the brilliant documentary collaboration ‘Dark Days’. A new track with Terry Reid feels pretty dated but the vocal is undoubtedly mesmerising; sounding like it’s always been part of the musical landscape.
Listening to this transported will transport those of a certain age back to your college days of b-boy trainers and ’70s tracksuit tops. Overall it’s a big nostalgic slice of deliciously moreish hip-hop pie.
Words by ANNA WILSON