It sounds like a man struggling to recall his motivations for making music in the first place.
“He’s still at it?!” Not my words, but those of [a]DJ Shadow[/a]’s own painfully self-deprecating press release, on which the word “genius” has been scratched out by me and replaced with “wankery”. Yet just because the goateed trip-hopper knows that anything he releases now is likely to be unfavourably compared to his 1996 masterpiece ‘[b]Endtroducing…[/b]’, it doesn’t mean he’s managed to stop the rot. ‘[b]The Less You Know, The Better[/b]’, his first albumproper since 2006’s ‘[b]The Outsider[/b]’, is, frankly, a bit of a mess. For every inspired moment of sampledelic transcendence, there’s a splatter of ugly metal riffage or a tediously earnest rap. When Shadow eases off on the clunky techno-dazzle, he occasionally channels his evident sense of disillusionment with music and the world into something genuinely wistful and poignant. But overall it sounds like the work of a man struggling to recall his motivations for making music in the first place.