FOR MANY DJ Shadow might be ‘the man from UNKLE’, but it is as a solo artist that he has truly made his mark.
DJ Shadow (aka Josh Davis ) is widely credited as a key figure in developing the experimental instrumental hip-hop style associated with the London-based Mo’ Wax label.
Inspired by early hip-hop, he grew to absorb the heyday of crews like Eric B & Rakim, Ultramagnetic MCs, and Public Enemy; groups which prominently featured DJs in their ranks.
Shadow experimented with making beats and breaks on a four-track recorder in high school in North Carolina. By university he had co-founded his own Solesides label as an outlet for his original tracks. His music spread widely through the DJ-strong hip-hop underground, eventually catching the attention of Mo’ Wax.
His debut album Endtroducing... was released in 1996 to critical acclaim in Britain and the US. Preemptive Strike, a compilation of early singles, followed in 1998. Later that year, Shadow produced tracks for the debut album by UNKLE, a long-time Mo’ Wax production team that gained superstar guests including Thom Yorke, Richard Ashcroft, and The Beastie Boys’ Mike D.
In 2002 Shadow released his second solo album The Private Press and in 2004 he released the live album and DVD, Live! In Tune and on Time. Between 2007 and 2009 Shadow released three volumes of The 4-Track Era Collection, a series of his earliest recordings.
In the midst of all of these solo projects, Shadow collaborated with fellow hip-hop DJ Cut Chemist. Together they created a series of mixes that fused soul, funk, and rock, in the framework of a cohesive concept involving using only 7”.
While Shadow’s profile has never been higher, he has increasingly shied away from the music press and traditional forms of social networking. This year has seen him hard at work on his next album, which he has called “a return to form”.
DJ Shadow plays a ‘Róisín Dubh presents...’ show at the Live Lounge in the Radisson Blu Hotel on Saturday October 2 at 8pm. Tickets are available from the Róisín Dubh and Zhivago.