There was a decent chance that County Grind was heading to Miami later today to mingle with the beat-devouring masses at Identity Festival's stop at Bayfront Park. And there's a decent chance we could say we were "excited." As you already know, this is not happening today because of Hurricane Irene nastiness, and there's a slim chance that there will be good news Monday regarding a rescheduled date.
On a personal level, this was an opportunity to see how turntablist/producer DJ Shadow has developed during the past decade. (He now performs inside a big globe!) After witnessing his live mastery during the era of his second official studio album, The Private Press, the trail mostly went cold. He was never a guy who was especially prolific -- creating the first entirely sample-based album of jazz, beats, and unparalleled ambience, Endtroducing....., wasn't easy -- but The Outsider was a particularly tough pill to swallow. Not that Shadow shouldn't be allowed to change up his formula, but the results were so (shudder) boring. It is with great pleasure that the material that has emerged from the forthcoming The Less You Know, the Better has fared far better.
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The first track to drop from the album, "I Gotta Rokk," is mesmerizing, and the video collage that accompanies it is equally poetic and undeniably Shadow.
It's hard not to reference Diplo's worldly approach to beats when watching the newly released video for Afrobeat dance track "I'm Excited," Shadow's collaboration with grime rapper Afrikan Boy. Much of the DJ's work has been more on the downtempo vibe -- even when it was eye-bleedingly intense. But given that this song is about exuberance, it follows that Afrikan Boy would step his game up and let his face and body become putty in Studio MURMUR's hands. We learn that if you want to be as excited as can be, piping extra oxygen into your body is appropriate. Not quite an outdoor festival's worth of excitement, but we'll take it.