NPR logo First Listen: DJ Shadow, 'The Less You Know, The Better'

First Listen: DJ Shadow, 'The Less You Know, The Better'

DJ Shadow's new album, The Less You Know, The Better, comes out Oct. 4. Dirk Lindner/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Dirk Lindner/Courtesy of the artist

DJ Shadow's new album, The Less You Know, The Better, comes out Oct. 4.

Dirk Lindner/Courtesy of the artist

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On his latest album, The Less You Know, The Better, Josh Davis (a.k.a. DJ Shadow) continues to showcase his skills as a left-field hip-hop shaman and sample-loving weaver of gritty, mystic tales of the everyday. Recalling much of his early work, but with a refined slant, the new record has a thoughtfully sequenced beginning, middle and end. Think of The Less You Know, The Better — out Oct. 4 — as an epic film score without the film.

DJ Shadow is a sort of sonic Merlin: He's known and revered for his buoyant beats, hypnotic loops and dark textural expanses, but he leads listeners to places where a nightlight, and even sunlight, can be glimpsed. Highlights of the new record include collaborations with an impressive array of vocalists, including Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon, Posdnuos of De La Soul, Tom Vek and Talib Kweli. But at the end of this star-strewn roller coaster, intensity and mellow introspection await.

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