The prodigal son of sampling Dj Shadow returns to throw some shade.
If the title doesn’t tip you off, new album release Our Pathetic Age aims for dissonance - but falls short of disharmony. The massive double LP is split in two; Side 1 serving as an exploration into atmospheric instrumentals while Side 2 stunts Shadow’s rap game. Separating the two pillars of Shadow’s renown into juxtaposed pieces gifts the listener with a rare opportunity to quench themselves on the scope of his talent.
Back and in full form, the mad mixologist dives headlong into nostalgia on Side 1 with despondently titled, emotive compositions that convey both the sense of assurance and despair that is his marker. A thin transmission can be heard echoing back to earth in My Lonely Room with lively elements that crackle over granularly distorted breakbeats. The cold-as-space We Are Always Alone follows with a melancholic and isolating piano piece that closes out Side 1 on an ominous note.
Side 2 jumps up and down with cameos and gusto, contrasting the Side 1 in intentionally wide swaths, rap heavyweights Nas along with various members of The Wu and Run The Jewels making appearances. New single Rocket Fuel is Shadow at his most playful. The snappy 3 minute track is stanky with old school funk, De La Soul doing the talking while Shadow trips and scratches his way to a solid party starter. The music video expands on the art of sampling by cutting supposed archival footage of the moon landing with something never before seen, and I’ve only got two words for you: space fight.