David Axelrod David Axelrod

"This is the David Axelrod sound, L.A. bred and ahead of its time," so says DJ Shadow, of the 30-year-old tracks that have been recorded for Axelrod's self-titled release. Shadow speaks of the songwriter with the utmost praise and honour, and you could instantly hear the influence the composer has on the young DJ, as well as many other hip-hop heads. Sharing love for Axelrod's sound is James Lavelle, and in time decided to release the artist's next effort through his Mo Wax label. The arrangements have an extremely vintage and powerful body to them, even after years of sitting on the shelf in hopes of being released. Long-time fans of the arrangements that the Los Angeles native has launched throughout the years won't be disappointed, for the epic songs on this release, even though recently recorded, recapture the era in which they were written. "The Shadow Years" is by far the crown jewel of this album, showcasing the arranger's ability to layer volumes of sounds slowly into a giant musical masterpiece that's capped by a fantastic guitar solo. Some dedicated fans might also be disappointed with Axelrod's collaboration with Ras Kass, and being in touch with his influence on so many hip-hop artists in general. But in no way does his association with an MC affect the overall presentation, for it flows more like a spoken word piece and keeps the vintage vibe intact. The instrumentation is extremely tight, as you would expect, getting nothing but total perfection from his players, track after track, with so much soul and heart that it's bursting at the seams. This is definitely a brilliant and powerfully raw release that will hopefully bring Axelrod to the attention of many music lovers of any genre. (Mo' Wax)