MUSIC NERD MOMENT OF THE DAY: DJ Shadow – Midnight in a Perfect World

Though it began to diversify and vary itself beyond borders that were unimaginable when it began in the late 1970s, we pretty much thought we knew what to expect of Hip Hop when the 1990s rolled around. But even with this being the case, there was still the unexpected that happened every now and then. One of those instances occurred when a California DJ helped to turn the Hip Hop world on its head in 1996 with the conceptual, sample-heavy music of the album Entroducing….A total of four singles were released to promote the album, including “Midnight in a Perfect World”, a dark and slow-moving composition that samples the piano from the 1969 David Axelrod song, “The Human Abstract”. Layers of heavy drum break beats and additional sampling by Shadow from the songs “Sower of Seeds”, “Sekoilu Seestyy”, “Dolmen Music” and “California Soul”, along with the melodic and virtually undiscernable lyrics of the female voice, chopped up vocal repeats and distortions, solemn background guitar, give “Midnight…” its famous moody, stark wide-reaching and symphonic feel, almost as if the listener is floating on air. It’s a song that stands with its feet dangling at the edge of bleakness and despair but refuses to dive directly in. “Midnight in a Perfect World” stands as one of DJ Shadow’s many impeccable musical achievements, and may have had a direct musical impact on a current crop of artists/producers/music makers like RJD2, Nicolay and Flying Lotus, who have all become well-known for crafting the most atmospheric of experimental instrumental Hip Hop.

 

 

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