DJ Shadow's 1996 masterpiece, Endtroducing... , was a game-changer for sample-based music. But in the 15 years since, the collage techniques that amazed the world have become so easy to pull off on a home computer that his methodology no longer puts him above the crowd. His debut stands up, thanks to success in conveying a rich, all-encompassing mood. His newest album, on the other hand, is all technique and no emotion.
The dusty shuffle beats and goofy spoken word samples haven't changed much and now sound dreadfully dated. He puts a lot of energy into showing off his eclectic tastes, but the heavy metal guitar riffs and piano ballads sound like he's desperate to prove he's relevant. The guest vocalist appearances by Tom Vek, Little Dragon, Talib Kweli and Posdnuos are awkward at best and add nothing. His collection of 60,000 records was once impressive, but these days it's hard to respond with more than a shrug.
Top track: Tedium