DJ Shadow: same as he ever was
January 19, 2013 5:49 PM   Subscribe

On December 14, 2012, DJ Shadow, best-known for his genre-breaking Endtroducing... was booted off the stage in the middle of his set, later tweeting about the incident and his fit there. The venue, Mansion has since issued an an apology, but already has a bit of a reputation for kicking DJs off the stage, having done it to DJ Dennis Ferrer.

So what did Shadow get booted for? Well, why not give it a listen for yourself?
posted by TheNewWazoo (106 comments total) 95 users marked this as a favorite
That was too hard, too future, and just plain too raw.
posted by mazola at 5:53 PM on January 19, 2013

Oh, I guess I can totally editorialize here:

The set is amazing.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 5:56 PM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

I heard this set a couple of days after the incident, all I can say is I'd have paid good money to see it live. Pearls before swine.

Clubs like this one are part of the reason why I got bored of Miami in less than 6 weeks of living there (20 years ago, but plus ca change...)
posted by bashos_frog at 6:01 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well I'm four minutes into this and so far I can say I love this. But I'm not some methed up Miami club kid looking to dance and get laid. What was the crowd at Mansion expecting?

I can't even understand what I'm listening to, to be honest, the first few minutes are pretty all over the place. In an good way! Later in we get to something more familiar with a groove, like Organ Donor around an hour in.

Between this mix and the Nicolas Jaar Essential Mix from May, Metafilter has covered my needs for complex electronic / mix music.
posted by Nelson at 6:06 PM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Looks like this was an event that people would have bought tickets for specifically to see DJ Shadow.

I don't understand. Was this a publicity stunt?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 6:07 PM on January 19, 2013

Play to the audience I guess.

This audience appears to be assholes.
posted by Artw at 6:07 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I feel for DJ Shadow. Endtroducing... became his "Werewolves of London" and no matter how deep his catalog gets, people are still gonna be disappointed if they don't hear it. I am grateful for the exposure to all that Bay Area rap that a Canadian hippy like me never would've heard otherwise.
posted by Lorin at 6:10 PM on January 19, 2013

Sounds like what happens when a MIDI card goes bonkers.
posted by gjc at 6:10 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

From the website, it looks like Mansion is a straight-up Miami House club.
Shadow doesn't do anything the least bit like house music. (And thank God, really.)
posted by grabbingsand at 6:11 PM on January 19, 2013

The first five minutes I was all "Whaaaat"...

But then I realized I was slapping out a phatass beat on my leg and was all "Oh shit, the music started, this is niiiice."

I'm enjoying this, it's safe to say.
posted by Imperfect at 6:15 PM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

I guess if the crowd is showing up on a Friday night and paying $30 cover to hear DJ whoever-it-doesn't-matter and expecting a certain kind of music, this sort of makes sense.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 6:17 PM on January 19, 2013

At what point in the set did they kick him out?
posted by Pyry at 6:19 PM on January 19, 2013

The Crossfade blog on Miami New Times has a bit more (but not a lot). "Too future" was indeed the words used by Shadow describing why he was kicked off the stage after some 20 minutes. So that Soundcloud mix is a lot more than what you would have heard in the club, and probably a lot more enjoyable, if this video of DJ Shadow ending his set is any indication of the atmosphere in the club.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:20 PM on January 19, 2013

Haha, fuck Miami.
posted by phaedon at 6:20 PM on January 19, 2013 [6 favorites]

Ohmigod that set was excellent. filthy light thief's clip of the reaction is just awful. If you love the first half and don't get the second, that's clearly on you. You can still dance off your head on molly and booze to it, what's the problem?
posted by forgetful snow at 6:26 PM on January 19, 2013

And apparently Krampfhaft's "Spit Thunder" was the track that was playing when the establishment kicked him offstage. Here's the tracklist in MixesDB, which is currently a work in progress.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:26 PM on January 19, 2013

BTW, if you dig the Nicolas Jaar Essential Mix, he posted the "No BBC Edit" to stream or download on the soundcloud page for his label, Clown & Sunset. It's an M4A file, for what it's worth, but it's high quality (278 kbps VBR), for those who care.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:29 PM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

I like to think the decision to pull the set was at 18:45 in the SoundCloud version, a bunch of layered sine waves from the DJ because fuck you that's why. How programmed is a set like this, anyway? Is he mixing anything at all based on what's going on on the floor or is it pretty much him performing a bunch of queued up stuff?

Thank you so much for that Jaar download link, filthy light thief. If I ever have to listen to that BBC announcer again (Pete Tong?) I'm going to gouge my ears out with a spoon. I've got a bunch of other Jaar mixes all downloaded and I'm OK with all the random crap; the bad interview, the stupid podcaster, the local traffic report for goodness sake. But that announcer, oh god, nails on a chalkboard if the nails were knives and the chalkboard were my brain.
posted by Nelson at 6:39 PM on January 19, 2013

It's a fine set, but you can understand why a particular clientele might not like it. Pulling him off was a bit much, maybe the natives were getting restless.
posted by carter at 6:44 PM on January 19, 2013

Apparently DJ Shadow mixes don't compel frat boys to buy $16 beer.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:04 PM on January 19, 2013 [14 favorites]

I mean, you kinda have to put it on Shadow, too. If I wanted to go out dancing, and this was what was playing in the club, and people weren't super into it, I'd be bummed out.

Knowing your audience is part of being a great DJ. He should have tailored things to Mansion. If he didn't want to tailor his stuff, he shouldn't have played there.

Someone earlier in this thread said it was 'pearls before swine.' This definitely applies to what happened.

But, like if you have pearls, then what the hell are you doing at the pig pen? For Christ's sake, the place is called Mansion. Doesn't that say enough?

Hate to see Shadow try to do a prom.
posted by Hennimore at 7:06 PM on January 19, 2013 [9 favorites]

I listened to as much as I could but have decided this type of music is Not For Me.
posted by Justinian at 7:09 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

If "too future" means lazy trap music sounds then I agree with Mr. Shadow!
posted by smackwich at 7:09 PM on January 19, 2013

the simpsons theme remix at around 33 minutes in is damned awesome
posted by pyramid termite at 7:15 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I liked it, but it seems like like the sort of thing that would play better for an audience expecting a concert of experimental music than for one that came to a nightclub wanting to dance.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 7:23 PM on January 19, 2013

I think the set is notable if only for the fact that he included around 12:17 part of a remix of the track "IFUCKINGLOVEYOU" by Big Black Delta, which in my opinion is the best electronic music in LA right now.
posted by chimaera at 7:35 PM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Shadow is one of the last few DJs to treat a "club show" like a concert--his riders are some of the most precise documents I've read in the music industry (insert snark here). All of the gigs (including the show at Mansion) on his previous run of dates were booked as a tour. The promoters knew what they were getting and sold tickets ahead of time. Their response (which is probably dictated by a bottle service crowd) is a bit shallow when you consider all the leg work that goes into booking someone of Shadow's caliber. Often times, it isn't up to the artist to choose their venues (blame the agent), but it is definitely up the the venues to choose their talent.

This isn't the first time Mansion has booted a well-established DJ off the decks. House DJ Dennis Ferrer was booted last year as well. Mark Farina was also booted off in a similar incident in Vegas.

Good set, btw.
posted by raihan_ at 7:41 PM on January 19, 2013 [5 favorites]

Holy fuck, they goddamn listened to that and gave him the hook? I went in all, "Yeah, he was trying to fuck with people, as he is D.J. Shadow, and fucking with expectations is what he does, and here, in the first minute, he's explaining he's going to do that..."

And then the epic set happened.

Maybe he needed a drop? I dunno. There are actual grizzly bears at the 14 minute mark. Could it be... no. They could not have kicked him because the set's not danceable... did they bother to listen to anything he's done before signing him?
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:48 PM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

raihan_, that's just fascinating, I had no idea stuff worked that way. So basically they book a guy who I've only seen play 1st Ave in MPLS,( playing to a crowd of pale indie kids who probably wouldn't have danced if you'd been *tasing* them), book him into a place like this, pay him whatever he gets (which I suppose is substantial), sell a bunch of tickets for it to the punters, and then some jackass who's dropping 5 figures on bottle/table service gets to shut down the the DJ because fuck you.

The mind kinda reels, I on the one hand sort of wish that I had that kinda cash because I think I'd enjoy abusing that power (maybe I could get somebody booted for being *too* mainstream?) And I also start being glad that I never hang out in places like that, because I've seen a *bunch* of music that this could have happened to if it was a universal practice.

Really liking the set, BTW.
posted by hap_hazard at 8:11 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

FWIW, Shadow has the kind of pull that will sell a lot of tickets based on his name alone. I've no doubt that the average schlub on the floor came specifically to see DJ Shadow In The Flesh, and got fucked by a whale.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 8:16 PM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Not a big fan of this type of music, but this shits not bad.
posted by incandissonance at 8:33 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Totally loving this set. I was so excited for The Outsider when it was coming out but I really didn't like it, but this.... Holy wow I'm into it.
posted by Phantomx at 8:57 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm twenty-odd minutes in. I'm a classical vocalist, this is not the kind of thing I usually listen to. . . but I am still listening and still interested. Dunno if I'd dance to it, but I can definitely see plugging into this for a workout.
posted by KathrynT at 9:05 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is amazing. This is also the first thing I've ever played in my apartment that makes all three of the new cats freak the fuck out. I had to move to headphones because they were tearing through the house with their ears folded back from about 3 minutes in. Bizarre.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:06 PM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Excellent set!!

Incidentally, I played a chiptune show at a dive bar in Pasadena CA last night; the set was my latest soundtrack for an unreleased game that is 8 tracks of adderall-fueled 4-on-the-floor disco house, complextro, and 8-bit dubstep. Not a single person was moving at all, they all sort of stood there like mannequins with beers. I jumped and flailed my arms around, trying to get them dancing and/or at least partially naked, but they stared at me like deer in headlights. About halfway through I felt like just calling it, since I didn't have any less intense material ready, but I kept going and gave it my all.

I can imagine that even someone as well-known and successful as Shadow must feel a similar sort of "Blues Brothers behind chicken wire" dread when he finds himself in front of the wrong crowd -- even if (as in my case) they're not hostile, just sorta not feeling it. It suuuuuucks.
posted by jake at 9:08 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

(That said, playing for a small, disinterested-but-still-friendly crowd is a good opportunity to at least practice your performance and work on stage presence.. getting actually booted off the stage would be totally awful)
posted by jake at 9:14 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

A great set. A++++, would listen to repeatedly.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:15 PM on January 19, 2013

There's nothing worse than playing the wrong set at a venue. The blank stares from the crowd, the constant requests for songs that you didn't bring, the bar manager coming out looking concerned, and then the tap on the shoulder. It's really the worst feeling. It's a lot easier to adapt now that you can bring 1000 songs on your laptop vs 40 or 50 in a record bag, though.
posted by empath at 9:17 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wow, if the ~19 minute mark estimate is right on, the Mansion screwed up bigtime. Up to that point there is a lot of Shadowesque fucking around, especially that drop-tease with the layered square waves. But shortly thereafter shit gets real sweaty real fast. This set is rocking my socks off.
posted by carsonb at 9:29 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

At fifty minutes into it now, and I am LOVING THIS. People who know about things like this, please tell me where I can find more things like this!
posted by KathrynT at 9:33 PM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

did they bother to listen to anything he's done before signing him?

I bet they didn't, and that's totally painful - DJ Shadow is as much of a known commodity as it gets. He's been playing sets like this for a long, long time. The fact that they ditched him so quickly probably means they had no idea who they were signing.

Knowing your audience is part of being a great DJ. He should have tailored things to Mansion. If he didn't want to tailor his stuff, he shouldn't have played there.

I think a DJ of his caliber should be entitled to assume that the venues that book you know who you are and what you're going to play, and that they booked you for that reason. You wouldn't expect a rock band to start playing blues based on the name of the venue, would you?
posted by ZaphodB at 9:36 PM on January 19, 2013 [11 favorites]

Oh, and there is a drop at the 50 minute mark... this isn't some moldy-oldies "best of" set.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:44 PM on January 19, 2013

Really wish you hadn't posted this. Because after checking out the set, and other sets on his SoundCloud page, I was left with no choice but to go to, and before you knew it, I'd blown $344 ($270 + $74(!) shipping from the UK) on the limited-to-500-copies ultra-exclusive box set.

Yes, I've heard of BitTorrent. Doing that, too. But at least by buying it, I can torrent it guilt-free.

(Yeah, been a fan since "Endtroducing" in '96 . . . )
posted by CommonSense at 10:31 PM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

That last link completely crippled my browser with the amount of comments so I’ll have to try and listen later. I really hate the Soundcloud tags.
posted by bongo_x at 10:35 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I need to sleep but I really want to stay up and listen to this on repeat.
posted by mayurasana at 10:35 PM on January 19, 2013

Too many notes, not enough brostep for that club.
posted by meehawl at 11:14 PM on January 19, 2013

I am so damn old and I'm not familiar with norms this music scene at all. Listening through this it seems like the mix starts to hit a stride at the 6 minute mark. What exactly is it that DJ Shadow is or isn't doing that got him booted? I can't differentiate this from the smattering of other stuff I've heard in this genre.
posted by quadog at 11:37 PM on January 19, 2013

Love this comment on Shadow's twitter

I know that feeling got booked for a rave b4. And I'm not gonna play glowstick music ever. I hit em with that boombap anyways
posted by mannequito at 11:38 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

So I was listening to the set, which incidentally is quite good, and although I don't think it's a publicity stunt, it's almost a bit too convenient with that clip at the very beginning of his set basically telling you how it's going to go down.

However, knowing Miami after having lived there for more than 20 years, I can easily believe someone at a club would tell a performer how they should do their thing. Miami, you make me sad sometimes.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 11:59 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Haha, stupid Shadow. Don't you know great artists always pander to audience expectations? Also, you're on your final warning, Mr. Walker.
posted by steganographia at 12:34 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

too future; didn't listen
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 12:51 AM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Ha! Was just scoping his stuff on, "Hidden Transmissions" is 13454 seeders, 92 leechers. Top comment:

"Only Downloaded this coz its got a lotta seeds, not really my thing."

posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 12:58 AM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

(Last comment, promise - this shit is really tight and though I'd heard of DJ Shadow before I'd never really listened. Super awesome, downloading "All Basses Covered" for future enjoyment. Thanks, TheNewWazoo!)
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 1:09 AM on January 20, 2013

I hate clubs. I usually hate most club music. I do like DJ Shadow and I would totally dig a set like this.
posted by drewbage1847 at 1:29 AM on January 20, 2013

I had no idea Shadow had worked with DJ Krush: Duality.
posted by mannequito at 1:44 AM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

DJ Shadow and Ninjatune and crew have been breaking and smashing up beats for over 20 years. You can't expect anything when he takes the decks. It could be 120 minutes of impossibly sliced up booty bass mixed with Laurence Welk samples and scary Baptist Folk.

Where some DJs are molecular gastronomers and pastry chefs, DJ Shadow is all that plus a sturdy fry cook mixed with a stunt-riddled Teppan chef.

He's gonna show off and break conventions. It's his thing.

Mainly unrelated, but if you like this mix you should check out Andy Stott.

I just got back from being treated to his show here in Seattle and I was expecting deep, dark, and more traditional and minimal Dub - as in the traditional soundsystem sense of "dub" as from Jamaica - and I got that but mixed with an amazing cross section of electronic dance samples, tones and music.

It was the closest thing I've heard that matched what I used to hear/feel in warehouses up to twenty years ago, but finely aged and matured and curated and on better speakers. Just solid, pulsing grooves and layers and amazing timing and structure and everyone in the room moving at least a little.

Seriously, he went from dub and ambient to techno and house, hitting up classic simple breaks before diving into jungleism and drum and bass in the space of an hour. So much music and references crammed into it.

There's a bunch of Andy Stott stuff on YouTube for a primer.

posted by loquacious at 3:07 AM on January 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

Oh, and as for the DJ Shadow set: It's a bit challenging. There's spooky trap music and other new bass music bits layered in strange ways. I need to listen to it again but it didn't bite me on the first skim-through I did, at least not beyond "Yep, that's DJ Shadow breaking the rules again."
posted by loquacious at 3:10 AM on January 20, 2013

Yay mannequito mentioned DJ Krush, so now it's not unrelated :)

The last DJ Krush live set I saw in Sydney in 2012 was very hard and so unlike his last album Jaku from 2004, but I loved it.
posted by Joe Chip at 3:11 AM on January 20, 2013

The Little Dragon at 16:00 blew my head off. This set is fantastic.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:11 AM on January 20, 2013

This is also the first thing I've ever played in my apartment that makes all three of the new cats freak the fuck out. I had to move to headphones because they were tearing through the house with their ears folded back from about 3 minutes in

I had to move from headphones to my speakers just to see if I got a similar reaction but no such luck. Both my cats are hanging out on the desk like nothing's happening.
posted by shelleycat at 7:51 AM on January 20, 2013

(That's DJ Shadow ft Little Dragon - Scale It Back. I think the particular version featured in the set was the Jonny Wanha remix, which won 2nd place in DJ Shadow's remix competition about a year ago. =)
posted by omnomnOMINOUS at 7:52 AM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I really like this by the way.
posted by shelleycat at 7:56 AM on January 20, 2013

Who did they think they were getting, David Guetta?
posted by benbenson at 8:03 AM on January 20, 2013

For something totally the opposite of "too future" check out DJ Shadow's 30 minute Boiler Room set.
It's not for dancing, but it is an amazing soundscape.
posted by bashos_frog at 8:46 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks for that bashos_frog. I've been a fan of DJ Shadow since the days of the old "Influx" mailing list.
posted by Catblack at 9:27 AM on January 20, 2013

Absolutely amazing! Thanks for FPPing this, TheNewWazoo.

And for the Miami haters (27.13): And as almost every word in a sentence: "Fuck the fucking fuckers."

Glad to be here with everyone in the future.
posted by mistersquid at 9:36 AM on January 20, 2013

I"m really not into DJ Shadow (al that Hyphy stuff was just crap) but For a club to book DJ Shadow and then cut the set short is really really weird.

Were there other acts on the bill that night? He is the kind of performer that would draw a crowd - so you'assume a large proportion of the punters were there particularly to see DJ Shadow? I'd want a refund if it was me.
posted by mary8nne at 9:59 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I’m with mary8nne, DJ Shadow never really grabbed me, but he must do something that appeals to a broad cross section. I know several people who aren’t into electronic or dance music of any kind but like Shadow, at least Endtroducing. I just skipped around it for a while, but I’m not getting what’s offensive or unusual about this set (or particularly interesting), were they expecting straight up House?

A guy I know in his 20’s who’s much more into the club scene played me some stuff a while back, laughing and explaining "If you thought Brostep was weak wait until you hear Trap".
posted by bongo_x at 10:25 AM on January 20, 2013

This was excellent and wonderful and fun and full of unexpected moments and delightful twists of humor. I'd never have ventured near it if not for this thread.

So, thanks MetaFilter. And thanks TheNewWazoo for posting!
posted by hippybear at 11:34 AM on January 20, 2013

I'm glad this happened, because I just got to listen to that set. It's sick.

For those who love Endtroducing, fun fact, the entire album was made with one sampler, the MPC60

Learning that was where my love of that album turned into pure awe.
posted by sp160n at 12:37 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

they had no idea who they were signing.

This. Which also tells you how much the booker worried about taking care of their customers.

No doubt the guy that booked Buddy Holly/Crickets into the Apollo in the 50s was a little nervous at first. But it turned out right because he'd gone by his ears, not his eyes.
posted by Twang at 1:14 PM on January 20, 2013

A friend and I were having beers and talking music last night, and Shadow came up, because, well, Shadow.
Anyway, if you haven't seen it, check out Pushing Buttons. Shadow, Numark, and Cut Chemist, live set, no records. Just synths, samplers, and mixers. Boundaries, these guys push them. Like buttons.
posted by envygreen at 2:22 PM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm totally outing myself as an out-of-touch old man, here, but what is this, exactly, this music? I'm listening to it, and it's interesting, if not the sort of thing I'd seek out, but I'm honestly not sure what the context is. Several people have mentioned that this fits into a dance music box, in some way (though it doesn't seem like something that could be danced to very easily, coming from this dedicated non-dancer).

But what does the DJ do, here? What does he or she actually do when they perform a 'set'? I assume it has to be more than just pressing play on previously-assembled bits of sound -- I think I understand that this stuff is sample-heavy, but is it all samples? Are the vocals also sampled from somewhere, or are they live? Or?

I'd love if somebody could tell me what's going on, assuming that I know nothing, but have been a music lover since way back in the stone age.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:04 PM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

A guy I know in his 20’s who’s much more into the club scene played me some stuff a while back, laughing and explaining "If you thought Brostep was weak wait until you hear Trap".

Glad to know I'm on the cutting edge of suck for you genre-snobs out there. I'll MeFi mail you the next thing I like so maybe you can tell your people what to get a head start on hating. I'm all about public security.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 4:08 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

stavrosthewonderchicken, DJ Shadow doesn't really fit into any molds, in my opinion, so I'll try to come at your question sideways. Perhaps I'm just not well-versed enough in the scene to know. He layers and combines a few different genres in ways that are pretty one of a kind (in this set alone: vintage documentary audio, breaks, dub, d&b, old-school electro, west coast rap, old-school east-coast rap, modern dirty south rap, booty-bass stuff, + more, and even sneaks in a little bit of dubstep and a trance buildup... even La Bamba!). Some of it is very danceable, and I think Shadow does a decent job of breaking up the typical endless four-on-the-floor beats of most club music with stuff that appeals to the head, not just the booty, if you catch my drift.

So this is the ultimate mashup/sample artist. Shadow does something interesting that a bunch of other artists don't, though: he makes things that are good to listen to. Every DJ of his ilk tries to find that one hook or that one beat or that one break from their impressively-deep catalog that nobody else has heard, or has forgotten, or hasn't ever considered in that DJ's new context. The "Back to Mine" series of compilations are great examples of the sorts of good-because-it's-obscure pissing matches that can happen. Shadow has a deep catalog and an ear for interesting pieces, but he picks cuts that make good music (within the context of his basically unique style). As a result of his deep catalog and good taste, you get... well, this. It's layered music that works on a few levels: it's (mostly) good for dancing, it's (mostly) good to listen to, it's (mostly) good for contemplation, it's built from enough widely-known music that it's (mostly) appealing to a wide audience from a "Hey, I recognize that sample!" standpoint, and it's (mostly) deep enough that it encourages exploration and rewards familiarity with the underground music genres he samples. By way of contrast, Pretty Lights (whom I also highly recommend) leans much further toward "dance", at the expense of "headspace". Negativland, on the other hand, mostly eschews dance for maximizing headspace.

I haven't seen him live - in fact, I've never been to a live electronica show, much to my eternal disappointment and regret. I can't speak to how he does what he does, or what it's like live.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 5:38 PM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

I've dubbed the thing I refer to in para 2, above, as "The College Radio Problem". Too many college radio station DJs play things because they're obscure or weird, not because they make for good listening. Many DJs who emulate Shadow fall into that trap.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 5:39 PM on January 20, 2013

Oh, one more thing - you ask about sampling vs. live performance. Yeah, all of Shadow's stuff is samples, to the best of my knowledge. It's mashed up and stretched and cut and taken out of context and layered, but it's all from other sources. As far as I know, the performance is the sampling and recombination.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 5:44 PM on January 20, 2013

> But what does the DJ do, here? What does he or she actually do when they perform a 'set'? I assume it has to be more than just pressing play on previously-assembled bits of sound -- I think I understand that this stuff is sample-heavy, but is it all samples? Are the vocals also sampled from somewhere, or are they live? Or?

A reasonably camera-friendly demonstration: DJ Shadow, Numark, and Cut Chemist's "Pushing Buttons". There are a few YouTube vids of DJ Shadow performing if you look, too, but this focuses more on what the DJs are doing than what's going on in the house generally. (You might also notice that this is pretty trainspotter-y for hip-hop...)
posted by ardgedee at 6:33 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wow, there really is quite a lot going on there. I'm intrigued now...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:38 PM on January 20, 2013

Just to chime in on TheNewWazoo's thoughtful and excellent explanation of "what's going on" I'll add this very unrehearsed and touchy feely description.

The track is running and I'm doing whatever. Maybe typing in a new window. Maybe sitting on my couch. Maybe walking around the house tidying. I might be at work writing an email but this stuff grabs one's attention.

Anyway, the track will be doing its thing, a skittering drum line with some synth or noise going up and down harmoniously and pleasantly. Then something new comes in, it's not insistent or out of place. The new phrase just changes the mix. The new phrase extends or is called to by a different voice, beat, rhythm, wave and I find myself saying "Holy shit! Did I just hear that? This is AMAZING."

That effect is akin to what happens in jazz, for one example, where a familiar phrase or repeated refrain sets up or hints at expectation and then a virtuoso improvisation that echoes, extends, and transforms the themes in ways that repay attention and consideration with pure synaptic pleasure.

It depends upon a musician who understands/intuits what possibilities are out there, someone who spends days and months and years listening to and thinking about music and then taking that understanding and cutting some beats.
posted by mistersquid at 7:52 PM on January 20, 2013

I'm going to be 100% honest here. I finally listed to the set, and while I appreciate what Shadow is doing (and it's really similar in genre to what I'm going to play at a dj set this week, actually, though he tweaks it out a lot more than me), but his agent shouldn't have taken that gig, and the guy that offered it to him should be fired. That set is fucking awful for a superclub main room, and I have no doubt that club cleared and they were losing money every minute he kept playing. If I were the club manager, I'd probably have bounced him, too.

You can book a set like that at a club like U Street Music Hall in DC that was built for DJs and underground dance music fans or at a concert venue where people aren't planning on dancing and picking up girls all night, and it would go over like gang busters, because every single person at the club would be there to hear that. But you can't spring something like that on a random club full of people. They will leave. Even the very small number of people that like the genres (trap, footwork, etc) he was playing would probably leave because he fucked with it so much.
posted by empath at 11:33 PM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

empath, this was a ticketed event with presales. People who came to the club with tickets wearing what one would normally wear to an experimental dance music set (tshirts, chucks) were denied admission in favor of the "beautiful people" without tickets, who of course had no idea what they were in for and hated it because Shadow wasn't playing pop hits.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:40 AM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yes. I'm well aware of how those clubs work. I don't think that really negates my point.
posted by empath at 11:46 AM on January 21, 2013

the simpsons theme remix at around 33 minutes in is damned awesome

I seriously thought you were trolling, since the Simpsons remix is closer to the 35 minute mark (~35:11), but you are correct - that is an excellent and quite fun remix.
posted by mysterpigg at 12:56 PM on January 21, 2013

I'm surprised at the couple of people who assume that, as a DJ, Shadow should be playing to the crowd. My take on it is that, as a known quantity (and not a cheap one), it was Mansion's job to promote to Shadow's crowd and get them out to see him. At $30 a ticket, I would assume that was what happened, but I know there's a much higher-end club scene than I'm affiliated with where people pay lots of money to get in to pay lots more money and be seen doing it (and hopefully to have fun, right? That is a part of it, right?)

I'm sure there's a price you can pay where Gwar will leave the masks at home, come out and play nothing but Buddy Holly covers at your wedding, but I reckon it's a lot more than what they charge to be themselves and play their music to their fans. I bet Shadow has a price where he comes out and plays nothing but dubstep club bangers and even puts his own personal touch on em but I don't think that's what Mansion paid him for.

My only question is: how much of this set I'm listening to was planned? Did he have a set list? Was it already recorded. Or did he go home after getting home from the gig, sit down at the computer and go "what an awesome publicity opportunity, I'm gonna finish that set right here!"
posted by elr at 1:04 PM on January 21, 2013

I've heard this style before, though never (knowingly) heard DJ Shadow. This is a really well done and well chosen set. I especially enjoyed his hip hop choices, though I have no idea of what any of it is.
posted by starscream at 3:43 PM on January 21, 2013

A guy I know in his 20’s who’s much more into the club scene played me some stuff a while back, laughing and explaining "If you thought Brostep was weak wait until you hear Trap".

I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at here, but your honor for the record, I fucking love trap music.

That shit turns me back into a teenager. This is my new favorite trap song to roll around in, windows down, full blast. The whistles go woooop!
posted by phaedon at 4:12 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

you can't spring something like that on a random club full of people

This event was one of his tour dates. If he can't play the stuff that makes him who he is during his own performances, then something's gone badly wrong.
posted by Lucien Dark at 4:18 PM on January 21, 2013

Yes. Something went badly wrong. They should not have booked Shadow to play at a club like that. You don't book an act like that where people go there week in and week out to hear the same kind of big room party music, and suddenly drop a set of experimental electronica. And yes, they always over sell tickets, etc. Those kinds of clubs are shady as hell for the most part. I've gone to a bunch of clubs like that, and I've even DJ'd at clubs like that. Shadow was 100% a bad fit for the club. His agent shouldn't have taken the gig, unless the intention was to create controversy.
posted by empath at 4:46 PM on January 21, 2013

Here's the Mansion web page for the DJ Shadow event. Description seems reasonable enough, they link to a video for Walkie Talkie as a representative sample.
posted by Nelson at 4:56 PM on January 21, 2013

I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at here, but your honor for the record, I fucking love trap music.

I’m not sure what I was getting at. I meant to say that was the extent of my knowledge of the genre, a few minutes of someone playing me some tracks and mocking. I don’t want to tell you your favorite band sucks, and shouldn’t have. Continue to rock out.
posted by bongo_x at 4:59 PM on January 21, 2013

Phaedon, thanks for explaining that trap was a genre. I thought I was relatively down with hip hop genres and weird electronic music, but I somehow missed that one!

The wiki page name drops a bunch of people I've never heard of. Totally off topic, but could you recommend some songs to check out? I'll take the opinion of a mefite any day over wikipedia. ;)
posted by starscream at 5:02 PM on January 21, 2013

starscream, if you trust the opinion of a MeFite, perhaps you'd be interested in MeFite-created TRAP MUSIC?
posted by carsonb at 5:44 PM on January 21, 2013

Carsonb, Priesosa -- it's fucking on!!!!!!!
posted by starscream at 6:07 PM on January 21, 2013

starscream, i would be honored. if you want immediate streaming access to a wide range of music, i would check out soundcloud's trap tag because you can see what others are digging - and a little birdy told me this complimentary site is really cool. You can also browse beatport, although they don't seem to have a dedicated trap genre. As far as trap music blogs go, thissongissick is great and I'm just starting to dig into run the trap. I also like the dankles for a wide array of electronic music.

For me personally, for whatever reason, the filthier the trap, the better. I think it's hardwire in my lizard brain. And I say that as a huge fan of Shadow, I used to be a crate digger (and coincidentally am developing a website for a local record store that I think is gonna be big). Here are a couple of tracks in my playlist right now:

"Harlem Shake" by Baauer.
"2012" by Bro Safari and UFO!
"Sweet Nothing" by Calvin Harris (diplo and Grandtheft mix)
"Internet Friends" by Knife Party (Trap mix)

Would love to hear what other people are listening to.
posted by phaedon at 6:12 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Would love to hear what other people are listening to.

I'm playing a set of it on saturday, I'll record it and put it on soundcloud later.

I think the reason that most people haven't heard of trap is that it's kind of a weird frankenstein baby. It's a relatively obscure hip-hop genre that's been adopted by ravers who have been running it through its paces, kind of following the same formula that dubstep went through, from minimal, urban bass music to tweaked-out rave bullshit like this.

I'm kind of stunned by how fast it went through the whole cycle. I hadn't been paying attention to 'the scene' for a while, and barely noticed the existence of trap until it had already turned into stadium music.
posted by empath at 7:13 PM on January 21, 2013

Threads like this are why I love MetaFilter!
posted by hippybear at 7:19 PM on January 21, 2013

if you're still in here...

there's a track with Baauer (linked upthread) and the legendary Just Blaze making the rounds... so inspiring to see one of hip-hop's legendary producers go from one Jay's "P.S.A." to another Jay's "Exhibit C" to this...

Anyway, it's better than coffee. Here ya go:

Just Blaze & Baauer - Higher!!
posted by raihan_ at 7:32 PM on January 21, 2013

and if you haven't heard Trapstorm you're missing out. Missing out on what? I have no idea, but I was fully prepared to hate this and then I had it stuck in my head for a week. Argh.
posted by raihan_ at 7:41 PM on January 21, 2013

I both hope and fear that that is a trap remix of sandstorm.
posted by empath at 8:02 PM on January 21, 2013

oh dear. That is so much better than it has any right to be.
posted by empath at 8:06 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, if this is going to be *that* kinda thread... I got into Shadow because of Quannum stuff, but then saw Scratch when it came out and was blown away by that whole, I guess, generation of hip-hop DJs. (well,the movie includes the guys who invented the stuff, but I'm thinking here of Qbert, Shadow, Cut Chemist, Mixmaster Mike etc) who are roughly also my generation, 40something dudes who got into hiphop in the 80's.

What I'm wondering is, where should I be looking for that sort of thing- not sure what to call it, but whatever for example you'd call this particular set, which I am continuing to enjoy the fuck out of- who's doing the really next shit now?
posted by hap_hazard at 10:35 PM on January 21, 2013

"who's doing the really next shit now?"

all of these dudes are still using turntables:

i really love what dj shiftee is doing w/ NI's gear. here are videos: 1, 2.

watching this z-trip routine at NAMM last year had my jaw on the floor. if you look closely, you can actually see me in the video with my mouth agape. it isn't anything technically insane, but props to someone who's willing to take weird musical risks...

four color zack's set at redbull thre3style world finals is dope too!

if you want some non-turntable action, i'll post again later today :)
posted by raihan_ at 10:31 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

raihan_ , thanks! Those are all outstanding, and that Traktor Kontrol thing is... damn... I had no idea those were a thing, and now I really want and can't afford one :(

Listening to that four color zack right now, and really enjoying it, so any other recommendations you'd like to make would be much appreciated.
posted by hap_hazard at 1:08 PM on January 22, 2013

All you DJ Shadow fans probably want to know: Bob Wood, of the iconic sample from the start of Endtroducing..., is a real person; he was National Program Director of the CHUM group from 1968-1985. He found out that DJ Shadow used the now-iconic sample at the start of Endtroducing..., and contacted DJ Shadow so that he could introduce DJ Shadow at the start of a Toronto set, back in 1997.
posted by louigi at 7:53 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


And everyone has seen Prince of Darkness, right?
posted by Artw at 8:13 PM on January 22, 2013

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