3:33 Live From The Grove

For a few years there, DJ Shadow was the absolute cream, using samples carefully dug from crates to create otherworldly hip-hop instrumentals. Then he eschewed all the overdriven MPC beats and atmospheric processing in favour of glossy disco-funk and banal, undercooked beats. The enigmatic 3:33 imagines a world in which the DJ went more into the shadows, fully embracing lo-fi found sounds, tape hum and dilapidated, sepia-toned percussion. Live From The Grove is the mysterious group's third release of 2011, and already a clear evolution in sound has taken place. The instrumentals are denser, better suiting the distorted lower frequencies, with more carefully groomed and selected samples, where tape-only release The First Thousand Days sounded almost lost in its ambiance, and 333EP-1 was a little on the patchy and underdeveloped side. Live From The Grove revels in its ominous drones, compressed drums, ethereal screeches, disembodied strings, shamanistic poetry, pops, clicks and mechanical noise. Like Endtroducing, Live From The Grove is one of those rare albums that will appeal to those who aren't normally hip-hop fans while drawing adoration from boom-bap heads and chillwaving noise junkies alike. (Parallel Thought)