The Shadow Knows...

Here's an interesting picture I found. The rather happy looking fellow is, according to the caption which came with it, British designer Clive Button, and the unusual piece of equipment he is holding is apparently an 'MPC Drum Computer', dated 1983. Many of you will probably be familiar with the Linn/Akai range of sampler/drum-machines which became the cornerstone of hip-hop sample-based production in the 1990s, starting with the MPC-60 in 1988. Mr Button's machine predates the -60 by over five years, and, as far as I can see, has absolutely no connection with the Akai range at all... interesting...

Anyway, geekery aside, I'd like to offer up two beats made in the very early 90s by one of sample-based music's most celebrated artists. I am of course talking about Californian beatsmith and digger extraordinaire, DJ Shadow. Shadow recently published a limited series of unreleased beats, remixes and megamixes entitled 'The 4-Track Era', showcasing work produced before he bought his first sampler, the MPC-60. The samples were looped up by hand to a 4-track straight from the turntables.

These two tracks are from the third instalment in 'The '4-Track Era' series, 'The Best of the Original Productions 1990-1992'. An interesting glimpse into the early development of DJ Shadow's methodology and approach to samples, which would go on to blossom on such landmark records as 'What Does Your Soul Look Like' and 'Endtroducing.....'.

DJ Shadow - Ain't that a bitch

DJ Shadow - Cult of Brutality

DJ Shadow on Discogs
DJ Shadow on MySpace

Find out more about Akai's MPC series here

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