That headline isn't an exaggeration.
There's a lot of music out there in the world. Some of it sucks, some of it rocks, and some of it stops you dead in your tracks. You drop everything you're doing and demand an explanation.
It fucks you up.
That's really the best way to put it. Even if you hate my potty mouth writing, deep down some part of you knows what I'm talking about. Good music that makes the world feel like it's standing still.
February 2013 was one of those times where my world stood still.
I found an article about how the Miami club Mansion kicked DJ Shadow off of the turntables because the music was "too future". I was thinking, "are they serious?" This is the guy who made Endtroducing..... One of the greatest, most influential records to come out of the decade. It's an incredible piece of music and the brilliant thing about it is it's made almost entirely from samples—and he did it in the mid-90s when the DAW technology wasn't anywhere near what it is today. There's stuff in there that still has me scratching my head today.
Unbelievable, but he handles it perfectly:
He was pretty pissed off. So, he put the set out as a free download as a giant fuck you to the club who wanted him to dumb down the set.
You can't download it anymore but you can still hear it here:
I bought a copy of Ableton Live the day I heard this and regularly re-listen to the full 90 minutes. I'd always made electronic music for fun, but this music made me want to work as hard as I could at it.
This is all on my mind because he put out a new record called The Mountain Will Fall this week.
It is every bit as good as the The Infamous South Beach Set, but with a better mix and even more of a compositional feel. There are sublimely beautiful moments, the gritty old school hip-hop he comes from, and some heavy collaborators.