5 of DJ Shadow’s weirdest samples

Ahead of his UK tour, here's a handful of some of the sample master's strangest sources.

Producer/sampler extraordinaire and major-league 90s hero DJ Shadow arrives in the UK next week to start a ten day tour (dates here). After spearheading trip-hop (the stoner’s beats of choice) with his early 90s Mo’Wax releases, Shadow dropped the monumental ‘Endtroducing’ in 1996, which became the blueprint for a thousand sampletastic instrumental hip hop albums. While his tour will focus on new, fourth album ‘The Less You Know the Better’, this list takes a stroll back through Shadow’s discography to unearth some of his choicest, weirdest samples.

Mort Garson and Signs of the Zodiac Planetary Motivations (Cancer)

Electronic musician Mort Ganson’s 1967 album ‘Signs of the Zodiac’ brought together two key sixties obsessions, the zodiac and trippy psychedelic music– and was one of the first albums recorded in the US to use the Moog synth. Shadow sampled Planetary Motivations (Cancer) for his trademark track Building Steam with a Grain of Salt on ‘Endtroducing’.

Pekka Pohjola Sekoilu Seestyy (Madness Subsides)

Finnish multi-instrumentalist and composter Pekka Pohjola’s track 1975 Sekoilu Seestyy, or The Madness Subsides, is instantly identifiable as classic Shadow from Endtroducing’s Midnight in a Perfect World. We’ll overlook the noodle-y jazz-fusion leanings and enjoy the gentle, peace-inducing keyboard riff underneath. Pohjola’s reputation as one of Europe’s leading electric bass players is given some weight by the solo at the end.

Disco Duck Rick Dees and his Cast of Idiots

There would be no swift, dignified end for American disco music in the 1970s. Past its heyday, disco records were publicly burnt and ‘disco sucks’ become a national catchphrase. This novelty disco song goes some way to explaining that. It reportedly took a day to write and three months to convince anyone to perform it. It was eventually performed ‘live’ on British TV in 1976, introduced by none other than Jimmy Saville, bless his soul. Shadow sampled it for his track Right Thing/GDMFSOB on ‘The Private Press’ album.

More Than Seven Dwarves in Penis Land Roger Walters and Ron Geesin

Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and Ron Geesin made a soundtrack to a 1970 documentary about the body called The Body. Using their bodies. Biomusic uses sounds made by the human body, from breathing, voice, chants, claps to slaps and flatulence. This track, More Than Seven Dwarfs in Penis Land, has a lot of chanting and is suitably strange. It was sampled by Shadow on ‘Endtroducing’s Mutual Slump.

Giorgio Moroder Tears

Giorgio Moroder needs little introduction – the man with the moustache was an unparalleled Euro synth pioneer. From the unforgettable Scarface soundtrack to the hugely epic ‘The Chase’, everything he touched turned to synthesiser gold. Appropriately, then, this Giorgio track was sampled twice by Shadow, on Stem/Long Stem and Organ Donor. It’s eerie and unsettling, as befits a film music genius.

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