Mountain Will Fall [LP] DJ Shadow Primary Artist
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In the professional and creative senses, Reconstructed: The Best of DJ Shadow cleared the deck for Josh Davis. Released in 2012, it summarized the producer's Mo Wax and major-label years, and somewhat perversely included only one cut that originated on his 1996 landmark debut album. After a 2014 EP, the first release through his download-only Liquid Amber label, Davis completely severed ties with majors and connected with the independent Mass Appeal. In the booklet for The Mountain Will Fall -- his fifth proper album -- only a handful of interpolations and samples are credited. After the detailed track list, a series of images pointedly depict a wall of analog electronic gear. While this album is much less reliant upon repurposed recordings than what preceded it -- Davis voiced the intent to put his touch on what contemporary music moves him -- there are many shared qualities. The sounds of the components have varied from release to release, but The Mountain Will Fall, as much as anything else, can be classified as a sprawling, largely instrumental suite rooted in hip-hop. There are subtle and abrupt changes in mood, dashes of off-center humor, and moments of bass-drum bombardment following extended stretches of austere atmospheres. Likewise, there are tracks within tracks that slip and tumble down unexpected paths. There's even a modern-day equivalent to The Number Song, the almost-as-cut-up and equally rambunctious The Sideshow. The few guest appearances have true purpose, not merely the fulfillment of half-hearted offers to work together sometime. In typically hostile and humorous form, {|Killer Mike|} and {|El-P|} mix it up with live brass and horns on the gunslinging Nobody Speak. Bergschrund (mountain crevasse), made with {|Nils Frahm|}, is a bracing hybrid of stutter-stop beats, blips, and thrumming effects that evoke perilous suspense. An equally valuable contribution comes from a group of musicians, including Matthew Halsall, on Ashes to Oceans. Davis seems to tug a dying drum machine across a shoreline before rapid handclap clusters and a feverish drum break arrive, only to dissolve into smeared piano and Halsall's trumpet. Some moments are so bleak that they could be titled descriptively as What Does Your Witch House Look Like, Pts. 1-2, yet the whole thing sounds like it was created in a state of fevered inspiration. [{|The Mountain Will Fall|} was also released on LP.]

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