larger than life

rhino records is a tiny shop in new paltz, ny that has a bunch of vinyl, some magazines, dvds and a massive collection of new and used cds. i’d often tag along with my mom on afternoons when she had groceries to buy or errands to run, for something to do. during those outings i was usually afforded the rare luxury of time alone, which for me meant time to browse the record store. i would flip through the discs and prioritize what i wanted vs. the amount of cash i was carrying. i would leave with as many cd’s as i could afford. my only rule was to avoid new discs, used only, more bang for the buck.

i’ll never forget the day in 96′ that i flipped past dj shadow’s endtroducing. something made me flip back to it, and stare. the artwork was amazing. it’s just a bunch of dudes browsing the music, with stacks of records under their arms. i could relate. the hunt…the search…it’s part of being a music lover.

that afternoon i left with just a copy of endtroducing. rhino is a small independent record store, and since the disc was new, it probably cost me about 17 or 18 bucks, but i didn’t care. i had to have it. i climbed into my permanent shotgun seat and hit eject on the disc player. i fed the disc into the dashboard of the red dodge caravan i would eventually earn my license in, and my musical landscape was forever altered.

dj shadow paints images. he creates a moody sonic atmosphere unlike any dj i’ve heard before or since that day i was endtroduced. in my opinion, dj shadow is a pioneer of instrumental hiphop music. he creates dense percussive backdrops, carefully placing cuts and samples throughout each track, creating a true experience for his listeners. he must dig through the crates for hours because it sounds like every single sound is meant for only that space in time. my friends and i have spent many dark, confusing nights trying to make sense of the minutes with nothing but dj shadow as our tour guide.

since entroducing shadow has released a few albums but it’s his upcoming the less you know, the better that has me anxious, eager for consumption. this record takes me back to the mysterious, heavy, mind blowing dj shadow i discovered fifteen years ago. for shadow fans, the wait is over…he’s back to basics, and i couldn’t be happier.

ps. back in 96′ my mother loved the album. we drove home listening, thinking, heads nodding the entire way.


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