DJ Shadow has shared an update on his long-awaited seventh-album, confirming that a new body of work will be released before the end of this year.
In a lengthy post on his blog, the Californian beatmaker explained that h’s now more than year in on production, having formally started the process on New Year’s Day in 2022. “As usual, I didn’t have any preconceived notions or objectives,” he wrote. “I just started by making music that made me feel good or satisfied vague objectives in my mind.”
Shadow went on to say that he had developed an artistic framework of sorts by the middle of last March, when “certain themes began to take shape” and he decided on “a loose set of personal ‘rules’… which helped me navigate toward a cohesive body of work”. He also noted that he stopped and started the song-making process several times throughout 2022, as touring kept him busy both at home and abroad.
“I flew to LA and shared even more music with my benefactors,” he continued. “Around September, a few songs were finalized and mixed, and then several more in November and December. Only now, roughly a year in (prolonged work stoppages notwithstanding), do I feel confident confirming that an album will be released this year.”
Teasing what to expect from the as-yet-untitled new record, DJ Shadow confirmed that it would “not be a double album” in the vein of his previous album (2019’s ‘Our Pathetic Age’), and would feature “fewer guest vocalists than my other contemporary output”. Its sound is also said to be “genre ambiguous”, with the song’ themes touching on his “recent experiences and evolving thought processes, both positive and negative”.
Shadow also pointed out that LP7 will be framed around “a unifying premise, which may or may not be obvious to the listener, depending on the extent to which I choose to amplify it”.
Expounding on his philosophical perspective on music, he continued: “I’m often fascinated by the moods, or colors, which dominate albums I’ve made. These spiritual frequencies are impossible to predict and unstable to control; I have always believed that paintings paint themselves, and to learn to submit to the uniqueness of every artistic endeavor. Saying that, I hear both joy and anguish in these songs.
“Even though they are ‘of’ me and from me, I have tried to get out of the way as much as possible. My job is to attempt, through arrangements, melodies, production techniques, and a million small decisions, to eliminate fluff and amplify the emotional resonance for maximum impact on the listener. Whether or not I’m successful is up to us; that is, the opinions of you (the reader) and me. So far, I’m genuinely happy, and that’s all I can ask for.”
Shadow closed his post by admitting to fans – “in the interest of providing additional context” for the material on his next album – that he has found himself “at multiple crossroads, both personally and professionally”. He continued: “Relationships I had relied on for years crumbled or are on shaky ground, while others have strengthened. I find the future, and my role in it, harder to visualize than ever before.”
After more than 30 years and a total of 29 longform releases (including his six studio albums), Shadow conceded that he “honestly [has] no idea what I represent to whom”, but was nevertheless determined to continue making music – “because at age 50, this is all I know now”.
Giving ‘Our Pathetic Age’ a three-star review, NME‘s Patrick Clarke was underwhelmed by its concept, opining that “what Shadow actually has to say about our so-called ‘Pathetic Age’, if anything at all, is never clear”.
“It’s a double album consisting of one instrumental side and one side featuring guest MCs and vocalists,” the review read. “The first half conjures plenty of dystopian whirrs and attacks of synth, but only occasionally do they create enough atmosphere to properly invoke anything concrete.”
Since releasing ‘Our Pathetic Age’, Davis has remixed songs by the likes of Deftones (for their ‘Black Stallion’ remix album) and King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard (Black Hot Soup’), and released a 25th anniversary reissue of his debut album ‘Endtroducing’.