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Album Review: DJ Shadow - 'The Less You know, The Better'

It sounds like a man struggling to recall his motivations for making music in the first place.

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Photo: Press
  • Release Date 26 Sep, 2011
  • Record Label Island
  • Fact He's said to own over 60,000 records
5 / 10
“He’s still at it?!” Not my words, but those of DJ Shadow’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 ‘Endtroducing…’, it doesn’t mean he’s managed to stop the rot. ‘The Less You Know, The Better’, his first albumproper since 2006’s ‘The Outsider’, 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.

Sam Richards

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