Stem/Long Stem/Transmission 2

DJ Shadow

Song Review by John Bush

An extended meditation on the art of being a DJ that ranges from thrash-tempo beatwork to downtempo, string-heavy musings, DJ Shadow's "Stem/Long Stem" isn't a trip-hop production as much as it is a post-modern composition achieved with a sampler instead of traditional notation. Over eight long minutes, Shadow uses several samples -- from Vangelis' soundtrack to the sci-fi classic Bladerunner, Giorgio Moroder, Mahavishnu Orchestra, the British psychedelic group Nirvana -- to create a two-part suite of often melancholy music, a piece that consistently refuses to be pigeonholed into any musical style. There are only a few vocal samples, one from a bluesy soul track and another from a spoken-word reading by an increasingly out-of-control schizophrenic whitebread. Much of the rest is beatless and full of strings, an emotive composition that strives for a new level of feeling in electronic music and, for the most part, achieves it.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Endtroducing..... 1996 Mo Wax 9:22