Local Wire

DJ Shadow

There are tons of great DJ Shadow concert bootlegs floating around on disc and vinyl, but the stunning clarity and seamlessly mixed content of the official In Tune and On Time Live! puts all the rest to shame. This 20-track, 78-minute CD (packaged together with a 24-track DVD) is culled from a performance at London's Brixton Academy during the 2002 Private Press tour. Shadow's set draws from his entire career, and there's lotsa flips on the original scripts -- some subtle, some extreme -- to keep longtime fans happy: Deft hamster scratching and hyperkinetic jungle gymnastics juice up "Walkie Talkie"; there's an inspired mash-up of U.N.K.L.E. tracks "Drums of Death" and "Lonely Soul"; early singles "What Does Your Soul Look Like? (Part 3)" and "In/Flux," and Endtroducing's "Stem/Long Stem," are augmented by harder beats, scratches, and alternate samples without destroying their beautifully blunted vibe; and Shadow taps the MPC for a fully live version of the ever-tricky "Organ Donor." Also dropped are Handsome Boy Modeling School's "Holy Calamity" and Quannum stablemate Blackalicious' "Halfway Home" (both of which Shadow co-produced). Unlike for most DJs, technical wizardry and the art of songcraft are not mutually exclusive pursuits in Shadow's world, which makes this disc -- like practically anything else he puts out -- essential listening.
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Michael Alan Goldberg