DJ Shadow- Liquid Amber
Liquid Amber, DJ Shadow’s gluminous new EP, is the first public introduction to his new record label of the same name, and his first musical delivery since 2011’s The Less You Know, The Better. Conquering the industrial slant of future bass with chemical soundplay and a reputable minor melody- designed to keep feelings real and hook chins up- he takes us inside a dreary, fuming factory before labor laws were implemented. Order and arrangement exist to help us avoid complete dissolution within his music, but the mood is reliably heavy and has been since Endtroducing…, his 1996 debut widely considered a legend in experimental instrumental hip hop.
DJ Shadow doesn’t quite harness the depths of “Midnight in a Perfect World” on either track from Liquid Amber, but it doesn’t seem that he intended to. In a press release he notes that the short EP “serves as the opening salvo in what I hope is a long string of music, by myself and others, on my new imprint: Liquid Amber. It will feature some of my own songs, and soon, if everything falls into place, I’ll be putting out other people’s music as well. It’ll be primarily digital, with some physical releases from time to time… whatever feels right. I’m going to try to keep it low-key and fun.”
Much of “Ghost Town” and “Mob” feel stripped down, sometimes to bony layers of familiar stock file sounds. “Ghost Town” wanders past these initial impressions, pressing tones that really narrate the unsettling nature of abandoned places. “Mob” is scattered with cold bits, most of which will hopefully become a launch pad to the denser mood we know to expect from DJ Shadow. The three song EP concludes with a remix from Machinedrum, a gallivanting staple in the performance of future bass, shaking the walls of the sturdiest concrete hearts.
“PS: Not much of a manifesto, but I’d rather let the music do the talking anyway.” -DJ Shadow