Despite its extremely limited release, Brainfreeze quickly garnered a wellspring of underground attention that soon turned into ever-growing adulation, in part based upon the almost mythic stature accorded the original live shows from which it arose, oftentimes by mere word of mouth. The plaudits were well deserved but, as a result, the album soon became one of the most rabidly sought after collectibles of the newly minted millennium, with bootlegged copies selling for upwards of $50 on eBay. Because of this unforeseen demand, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist were ultimately forced to pull the album from circulation. (It eventually saw a limited re-release.) That same demand, however, might well have been the impetus that led to a second collaboration. Whatever the catalyst behind it, Product Placement makes for an equally sensational recording. The format remains in place. Two extended, uninterrupted tracks are built from scratch out of rare vinyl. The resulting music makes use of some of the same samples as its predecessor, but a large portion of the album is given over to fresh 45s, and even the holdovers find new contexts in which to fit. Again, most of these are extremely rare slabs of filthy great soul and funk, spun and segued in such a seamless manner that you can't help occasionally catching your breath at the effect. Shadow and Chemist could clearly claim master status on their instruments by this point but, more importantly, each had such a profound knowledge and love of the obscure music used here that the collages sound instantly classic. But Product Placement is also a different animal from Brainfreeze in several respects, one of them implied by the album title. Interspersed throughout the two mixes is a wealth of vintage jingles and commercial advertisements for everything from gas to milk to motocross. The impact is recognizable from the first notes, turning the music whimsical and tongue-in-cheek, a tangible playfulness further enhanced by a wealth of borrowed old school rap samples. Product Placement even dips into rock and psychedelic music. The duo's liberal use of the Outcasts' "Loving You Sometimes" during the album's second track works to particularly brilliant effect, transforming what was already a wizardly DJ display into a heady, tripped-out delight.
AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart
feat: DJ Shadow
feat: DJ Shadow