Thursday, April 30, 2009

DJ Shadow - "Funky Skunk" (LP review)

Released in 2005, "Funky Skunk" is a DJ mix LP released as a "DJ Shadow / Obey Reconstruction". Obey Giant is a pseudonym for Shepard Fairey, now best known for the Barrack Obama Hope Poster. I believe the LP is self-released (it is not clear what label, if any, it is actually on) and Fairey handled the artwork. Presumably a limited number received posters, stickers, etc., but my copy came in a jewel case without any bonus items -- or any information on the insert card.

Of course, half the fun of a mix LP is trying to determine all the various tracks. At the time of this writing, the Wikipedia page for "Funky Skunk" has only 9 sources identified, and they are mostly the easily identifiable songs (recent and novelty songs). The entire LP is a single track of approximately 66 minutes. Assume an average of 1 song per minute, and less than 15% of the sources have been identified.

DJ Shadow does a great job on this mix -- easily weaving some new hip hop songs with mostly old school hip hop, with just a sprinkling of novelty (e.g., Dennis the Fox's "Mothertrucker"), funk, and rock songs. This mix stands out from the previous mix LPs he's done with Cut Chemist, "Brainfreeze" and "Product Placement" (whose sources are now identified). Those LPs featured only 7" 45 RPMs, collaboratively mixed in real-time, and as a result of choosing 7" records they had more humor and camp (e.g., "Rappin' with Gas"). "Mothertrucker" is the only campy song on the LP. It's the Jar Jar Binks of this mix, but mercifully more like "Revenge of the Sith" and not "Phantom Menace". Aside from (I believe) only 1 song from "The Outsider", these songs represent new beats and samples that DJ Shadow has not used before in previous releases.

Standout Tracks: N/A since it is only 1 track, but 19:56 -- 41:13 is the strongest part of the mix. It is mostly 80's era hip hop.  Edit: here is the entire LP on soundcloud.

Skip 'em Tracks: N/A

Final Score: 8/10

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