- Recorded at The Glue Factory, San Francisco, California.
- Audio Mixer: DJ Shadow.
- Recording information: Glue Factory, San Francisco, CA (1994-1996); The Glue Factory, San Francisco, CA (1994-1996).
- Photographers: Barney Bankhead; Will Bankhead.
- Though the sleeve notes of DJ Shadow's exhilarating long-playing debut speak of his devotion to "vinyl culture" and "sample-based music" (a guide of which is contained within), it's all just double-speak for hip-hop. Undoubtedly, this is the musical culture that lit up the life of young Cali-boy Josh Davis, inspiring him to construct these vocal-less, found-sound collages. Not the hip-hop that a dime-a-dozen MCs have turned into a cartoonish, excess-filled formula, but the hip-hop of such sonic anarchist producers as Afrika Bambaataa and The Bomb Squad. To put it mildly, DJ Shadow sides with the dope beats, not the bland blah-blah-blah.
- Shadow's skills with a drum machine power ENDTRODUCING... as much as his innovative def-ness with a sampler--which says a lot for someone who's been called the Jimi Hendrix of sampling. The songs shift tempos in a blink, incorporating multiple time-signatures, and it's to Shadow's credit that he's as comfortable hinting at Elvin Jones' or Dave Grohl's rhythmic attacks as he is citing old faithfuls like Clyde Stubblefield. His wide array of samples color the album's beat-heavy text. Ethereal horns, ambient keyboards, orchestral strings, vocoder vocals, whole film scenes--each is made a part of the sweeping focus, part of a grand postmodern design.
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.80) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (1/23/97, pp.62-63) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...The DJ built songs out of layer upon layer of sampled instruments and other sound fragments, most of which he processed, looped and re-arranged far beyond recognition....funky rhythms that never sound like they've been cut and pasted together..."
Spin (p.134) - "[T]his remains a stone classic, channeling Afrika Bambaataa's genre-splicing, DJ-booth mysticism into a fully realized studio epic..."
Spin (9/99, p.126) - Ranked #15 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s."
Spin (1/97, p.59) - Ranked #12 on Spin's list of the "20 Best Albums of '96."
Spin (1/97, p.81) - 9 (out of 10) - "...layers slinky break-beats with sampled sounds--anything from church bells to War Of The Worlds and, egad, Tears For Fears....a cosmic-chamber feel complete with choruses of fallen angels, plucked harps, Mellotron, and cello..."
Spin (p.102) - "One of the best hip-hop, yes hip-hop - records ever made."
Entertainment Weekly (11/29/96, p.92) - "...Unfolding lik a surreal film soundtrack on which jazz, classical, and jungle fragments are artfully blended with turntable tricks and dialogue snippets, ENDTRODUCING... takes hip-hop into the next dimension." - Rating: A-
Q (12/99, p.90) - Included in Q Magazine's "90 Best Albums Of The 1990s."
Q (11/96, p.120) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...Shadow's brief is to develop a totally sample-based idiom, weaving a cinematically broad spectrum so deftly layered that the sampling-is-stealing argument falls flat..."
Uncut (p.121) - 4 stars out of 5 - "It's an elegy from a vinyl mausoleum, a sonic fiction assembled by a keen-eared archaeologist."
Alternative Press (4/97, p.70) - 5 (out of 5) - "...an undeniable hip-hop masterpiece....DJ Shadow remembers that sampling is an art form."
Magnet (p.88) - "An instrumental album entirely composed of samples and influenced by both prog rock and Public Enemy was, at the time, revolutionary....Still unmatched in its carefree invention."
JazzTimes (4/97, p.65) - "Some consider...ENDTRODUCING... a broadcast from hip-hop's near future. But that notion ignores how much this disc reaffirms the music's creative roots....ENDTRODUCING is pretty damn good, with Shadow demonstrating an unerring ear for motif and texture, touching on everything from dub to funk to groove-jazz..."
Option (1-2/97, p.73) - "...Shadow makes records the way Robert Rauschenberg made his combines: from scraps, pop artifacts, the things other people throw away....While some of his tracks float serenely on a cloud of jazzy phrasing and ambient textures, Shadow always lands on his beat..."
Melody Maker (12/21-28/96, pp.66-67) - Ranked #2 on Melody Maker's list of 1996's "Albums Of The Year."
Melody Maker (9/14/96, p.49) - Bloody Essential - "...it flips hip hop inside out all over again like a reversible glove, and again, and again, and each time it's sudden and new. I am, I confess, totally confounded by it. I hear a lot of good records, but very few impossible ones....You need this record. You are incomplete without it."
Rap Pages (12/96, p.33) - "...Innovative arrangements and structures of sound are present here, reflecting a mind that is constantly summoning collage forms..."
Village Voice (2/25/97) - Ranked #4 in the Village Voice's 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
Mojo (Publisher) (p.65) - Ranked #18 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "[The album] returned hip hop's focus from the MC to the music."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.120) - 4 stars out of 5 - "A decade on, DJ Shadow's affirmatory essay on record collecting as a creative endeavour has lost none of its grandeur."
NME (Magazine) (12/21-28/96, pp.66-67) - Ranked #5 in NME's 1996 critics' poll.