Thursday, May 31, 2012

DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist - "Product Placement" (LP Review)

"Product Placement" is the 2001 mix LP from DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist and follows their similar 1999 LP "Brainfreeze".  The premise of the LPs is rather simple: create a DJ mix LP using nothing but 7" 45 rpm records.  The trick is in their expert choice, mix, and execution.  Yeah, you could do all this digitally, but that's not the point: it's just two of the premier turntablists shredding.  And limiting themselves to only material that appears on 7" steers things to an older, funk-oriented mix as well as being an homage to an obsolete format.

Another observation is that the presence of Cut Chemist adds a level of humor that DJ Shadow's mixes (not to mention his original material) simply don't have.  For example, listening to DJ Shadow's "Funky Skunk" is an entirely different experience, not to mention his early KMEL mixes or "Diminishing Returns". They also have this fascination with 7-11 and related cultural artifacts (continued from "Brainfreeze") that would make Kevin Smith proud.

As always, it's difficult to review a mix LP since there are only two tracks, each nearly 30 minutes long.  My two favorite parts appear in track 1:
The full track list is available, but it is easier to just listen to the whole thing and find your own favorite parts.  In 2003 they released a DVD of them performing this mix live; you can find the entire thing on Google Video.  You owe it to yourself to check that out; obviously a big part of the appeal is watching them working together and manipulating the vinyl.

Standout songs: n/a

Skip 'em songs: n/a

Final score: 9/10  Part of that score is based on the novelty, but this really is a fun mix LP.

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