This set compiles much of DJ Shadow's pre-major label material in one convenient package in an attempt to foil bootleggers and bring new fans up-to-date in the curriculum. The results are naturally varied, but all point to... more » a marvelous evolution of talent. The collection is kept together primarily by its propensity for jazzy beats and psychedelic loops. Shadow (né Josh Davis) moves through everything from old school funk ("In/Flux") to grungy '60s-style guitar raveups ("High Noon"). The centerpiece of the set, however, is a four-part composition called "What Does Your Soul Look Like," which is likely to be the first ever entirely sample-driven rock opera. It's a brilliant piece of work, laced with intriguing sounds, sound bites, and a detectable set of motion. It is also quite possibly better than anything on the critically -acclaimed Entroducing. --Aidin Vaziri« less
This set compiles much of DJ Shadow's pre-major label material in one convenient package in an attempt to foil bootleggers and bring new fans up-to-date in the curriculum. The results are naturally varied, but all point to a marvelous evolution of talent. The collection is kept together primarily by its propensity for jazzy beats and psychedelic loops. Shadow (né Josh Davis) moves through everything from old school funk ("In/Flux") to grungy '60s-style guitar raveups ("High Noon"). The centerpiece of the set, however, is a four-part composition called "What Does Your Soul Look Like," which is likely to be the first ever entirely sample-driven rock opera. It's a brilliant piece of work, laced with intriguing sounds, sound bites, and a detectable set of motion. It is also quite possibly better than anything on the critically -acclaimed Entroducing. --Aidin Vaziri
D. R. Locker | Houston, TX United States | 05/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Enough with the arguments. Everyone knows what Shadow's best tracks are. Some of them are on Entroducing. Some are on Preemptive Strike. A couple are on Private Press. He also did some real magic with James Lavelle on Psyence Fiction. And almost all of his best are on In Tune and On Time.
But if you look at In Tune and On Time, his live album, as a reflection of what Shadow is most proud of and what he is most "into" at the time, it seems pretty clear to me that he is 1) enamored with his recent work (Private Press), but 2) still sees his vision as a product of his early musical conceptions. It is these early musical conceptions (and some revamped ones) that you get with Preemptive Strike.
I am a huge Shadow fan and have been for a long time. blah, blah, . . . I was fortunate enough to see him perform the In Tune set live at Stubbs in Austin when he toured for the release of Private Press. Shadow is a showman extraordinairre and I was blown away. The amount of brilliance that went into his visuals and track order have seen few equals. I remember that he dropped the first track (Fixed Income) after the following words:
"The most important thing for me is that you know how much I appreciate you and have a good time. You see, I view you, the fans, as my employers, and this is my resume . . ."
This kind of humilty and appreciation is sadly missing in most musicians.
Therefore I don't think that it is out of line to view In Tune as a reflection of his own view on his career. The two clear winners are Private Press and Preemptive Strike. Private Press can be explained by recency, but I think the reason that Shadow still plays so much Preemptive Strike is because it still reflects how he views himself.
As much as I love Endtroducing (Building Steam, Midnight, and Stem/Long Stem are clearly some of his best), Preemptive Strike is no less essential listening. Between In Flux, High Noon, and Organ Donor, you have as much of a concentration of greatness as the best tracks on Endtroducing. And then there is What Does Your Soul Look Like, which is like a warm blanket, flowing, changing, and walking you through Shadow's own soul. Just amazing. It seems incredibly ironic to me that Preemptive Strike seems to flow more smoothly than Endtroducing, despite it being a chronological compilation of previous endeavors.
My point is not to pick a fight between Entroducing and Preemptive Strike (or fuel the existing battle), but to encourage any fan of DJ Shadow to make sure Preemptive Strike is on your absolute shortest list of must own albums. Do not underestimate this album because of its origins. Camel Bobsled Race is also great; getting a chance to hear Q-Bert remix/compile Shadow is a treat.
I also think that Psyence Fiction is essential, and it is pretty clear that Shadow likes those tracks too. Also don't miss the bootleg of him live in Austin or his old Soulside tracks. Product Placement is a fun mix, too."
solecism13 | Kingston, PA United States | 09/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DJ Shadow, master mixer, reached his creative zenith in Preemptive Strike with music that forces the listener to manifest the meaning. Sound clips, definitive scratches, muted brass, and drum beats undulate through the smooth rhythm and produce a pensive mindset throughout the experience. There is no question of the skill involved to blend so many unique sounds into a medley. The album starts off with a percussion intro that fades into the mellow masterpiece In/Flux. Hindshot follows, giving you the impression of anxiety and fear with foreign ambiance. The next four tracks contain the thought provoking What Does Your Soul Look Like. The Soul series, dips into your conscience and emits a whole theological feel that undermines a continuous harmony. Highnoon and Organ Donor are no doubt, the most definitive tracks, radiating a feeling of euphoria through your body. The fast tempo offers diversity to the album compared to the calm In/Flux and Soul series, giving it an appealing array of emotional enigmas. The second disk features DJ Q-Bert along with Shadow, linking all of the tracks into a megamix. High and low, fast and slow, the megamix offers incredible energy. I cannot offer enough emphasis to how truly incredible this album is, please open your mind and buy it."
The best DJ in hip-hop
Alex | Yakima | 02/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is a masterpiece in ambient hip-hop. The sounds are beautiful on this laid-back, heavily sampled score featuring awesome scratching on the one and two. While "Organ Donor" and "High Noon" are the catchiest, with their quicker beats and less trance-ish sound, the other songs are all incredible. The monstrous epic "What Does Your Soul Look Like?" spans 4 tracks and over 40 minutes. The beats vary as much as the samples, and Shadow is at his best with these roving, abstract songs. "Organ Donor", however, will probably stick with you the most. The entrancing organ melody and wicked scratching elevate this song above most DJ music you have ever heard before. DJ Shadow, while comparable to DJ Krush, is not as futuristic, relying more on samples than his Japanese counterpart. He utilizes funkier beats, and it works. Buy "Premptive Strike", and check out Krush while you're at it."
The Intro to Shadow for Buddhists
Thaddeus | nyc | 06/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This record is getting ripped on by a couple of reviewers for not being Endtroducing... or Private Press. They all agree that High Noon and Organ Donor are all that make this cd worth having and that is some straight-up bull$!@#. This was my introduction to Shadow and it might have taken a little while to really sink in, but it hooked me on his music and made me vow to pick up everything he laid his lily white hands upon. This record is like Neitzche's void opening up in your mind and fixing its dark gaze right into the center of you. I've just heard Joseph Campbell mention that poetry is a metaphor for all the mysteries of existence and this for me is a transcendent poem that has helped glimpse behind the mask of the mysteries.Preemptive Strike is mostly slow and plodding, but each beat dropped lands right in the center of my head. It builds and builds, creating mischief from disparate sources of sound, weaving together a web that seems to form a story that you could almost make out if some of the pieces weren't missing. Some of the most affecting spoken samples are from "Johnny Got His Gun", as I later found out. Go see that movie if you like this record. If you enjoy "Diamond Sea" by Sonic Youth, "1983..." by Jimi Hendrix or "Revolution #9" by the Beatles, give this record a couple of spins through a pair of huge headphones."
It Sucks You In
Alden Lee | Nowhere, ME USA | 01/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this album after Entroducing, it is mostly work he made before that album came out. The composition of "What does your soul look like" is fantastic. The album blends together so well, yet each track is different. On the first track of Entroducing, he says he's "using and confusing beats that you've never heard" and it's true. I have practically worn this CD out listening to it, and I was watching the movie "Altered States" and there's a scene that he samples on "What does your soul look like (part 3)" (Track 6) that comes from that, it's a good movie and a good quote, but without knowing the background of the clip, it's really spooky. What I'm trying to say is that the samples he uses wouldn't seem like they should fit, but they blend really well with everything else. It's really one of the best albums that I know of, and I know of alot. The album is cohesive, and connected, unlike alot of recently produced albums which are just a collection of individual songs."