DJ Shadow – “The Mountain Will Fall” (Singles Going Steady)

The title track from DJ Shadow's first album in five years is the sound of an old pro showing the kids how it's done.

Chris Ingalls: The title track from DJ Shadow’s first album in five years is the sound of an old pro showing the kids how it’s done. He does an admirable job of sounding current in a genre that is constantly evolving. The bed of synths that lies under the entire track provides a soothing atmosphere and blends nicely with the loud, jittery beats that swoop in. Spacey keyboard noodling gives the track a lovely, warm sci-fi vibe. Not the best thing DJ Shadow’s ever done, but a comforting reminder that he’s still with us. [8/10]

Nathanial Schwass: DJ Shadow’s new single, “The Mountain Will Fall,” features none of the quirky vocal samples or strange, melodic cuts for which DJ Shadow was so highly regarded on his freshman masterpiece Endtroducing, yet “The Mountain Will Fall” shows a surprising deviation in the producer’s aesthetic. Nostalgic, 8-bit synths slide to and fro as the listener journeys through the soundscape constructed by Shadow’s composition. The percussion on this single is abrasive, yet it meshes nicely with the texture created between the sounds. The visual accompaniment for this single, constructed by Territory Studios, complements the ethereal euphony of Shadow’s single. While DJ Shadow makes unprecedented forays into the world of hip-hop and electronic production, the silent protagonist in the video conducts his light-speed odyssey through through the violet darkness of endless space. [7/10]

Pryor Stroud: Since his sublime debut Endtroducing….., DJ Shadow has continuously cemented his name as one of the chief pioneers of sample-driven, instrumental hip-hop. His sound is heterogenous, unpredictable and gleefully intertextual, engorged with sonic splashes and sudden tempo changes that throw you for a loop but a loop that you desperately want to be in — that you’ll return to just for the dizzying spell it casts. Yet “The Mountain Will Fall”, the title track from his newest LP, pivots from this kind of hip-hop experimentalism toward a spacier, electronica-influenced sound. It begins with a slowly crystallizing aural swell that seems to scale the mountain from the track’s title. Then, an anonymous scream shoots up from nowhere, and Shadow sends you plummeting down this mountain for the remainder of the track’s duration, a snowballing agglomeration of percussion, synth squiggles, and sonic oddities right on your tail the whole time. [8/10]

Steve Horowitz: Space music for space people! No wonder the video takes place in the outer regions of the universe. The mountain may fall, but more likely the listener will fall into a trance first. [5/10]

SCORE: 7.00