For the most part, pop music has gone dance. That is, many of the pop "tarts" as they have been referred to for the last several years - that's artists such as Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Rihanna and especially Britney Spears - have started making their tracks either dance floor ready or braced for a mild remix that will finish the job of taking it from morning drive-time radio to boozy humping dance floor anthem.
In the world of Josh Davis, it must be 1997. All the remixes on the I Gotta Rokk EP are drum 'n bass, as is "Def Surrounds Us," which might as well have come off Plug's classic Drum 'n bass For Papa. "I Gotta Rokk" is the midpoint of the late 90s sounds of The Chemical Brothers and Prodigy: Heavy, live-sounding drums; samples buried in the mix; and power chords taking it a little metal. This could pass for early Propellerheads or Monkey Mafia efforts. I mean this all in a good way, though I don't know how many people still want to hear any of those names. Do YOU know anybody planning to buy that live Prodigy DVD out this week? Do you even know it was coming out? That's all I'm saying.
I bet there are a lot expecting The Less You Know The Better, due out in September, a sound moored in that of "I've Been Trying," the second track on the I Gotta Rokk EP, which draws on the funk and R&B sampling hip hop Davis has built his legend on. There's a good chance the album is going to be split between that and the clearly techno-leaning stuff, which could be a good thing. On all of the new, bouncy-beat areas being explored here, the new track and two pseudo-new tracks (they were released last September), are dense and should not be easily dismissed.
Scanning comments on posts and stories about this and the other two songs there seems to be disappointment already, which I can understand. But before writing this I listened to the first two albums, in full. While it's possible there's another Private Press in there, I can almost guarantee he'll never make another Endtroducing... Which is fine. These three tracks sound like Davis is trying stuff out again instead of contributing to a scene. Hyphy-be-gone, they sound like a DJ Shadow album. Excellent.
Also, his old drum 'n bass stuff was pretty good anyway, you know? I think this is going to be good.
Buy the I Gotta Rokk EP directly from the DJ Shadow website.