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*** DJ SHADOW, "Preemptive Strike," Mo Wax

January 11, 1998|Richard Cromelin

The title of the new collection from the Davis-based sonic collage artist aims to explain why the record might sound like a step back from "Endtroducing . . . ," the seamless, embracing audio environment that put Shadow in the spotlight in 1996.

Shadow, whose real name is Josh Davis, released the bulk of this material in England in the years prior to "Endtroducing . . . ," and he decided to put it out now while he still had control over its presentation.

This not-really-a-follow-up opens with the 1993 single "In/Flux" and its flip side, "Hindsight," and closes with one recent piece, 1997's "High Noon"/"Organ Overhaul." The heart of the album is the four-part, half-hour EP "What Does Your Soul Look Like."

In contrast to the narrative-like coherence of "Endtroducing . . . ," the effect here is like riding a vehicle back and forth from the same starting point. But even in the shorter framework, Shadow demonstrates that the technique of sampling can be a true art form as he fashions his dense but airy atmospheres.

A fair enough gap-filler, "Preemptive Strike" is designed with a short shelf-life in mind-- Shadow intends to phase it out after its initial run. Due this summer is "Unkle," a new collaboration with Mo Wax's James Lavelle, with a new Shadow work planned for 1999.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).

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* Excerpts from these albums and other recent releases are available on The Times' World Wide Web site. Point your browser to: http://www.latimes.com/soundclips

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