DJ Shadow's sixth album is every bit a call to action as it is a hard look in the mirror. Our Pathetic Age, a sprawling 26-track double LP, invites introspection and delves into the dangers of distraction and disaffection that has taken society hostage. The first half of the album is an instrumental exploration that is both unsettling ("Juggernaut") and deftly existential ("If I Died Today"). Shadow draws on a number of different musical styles that seemingly struggle to coexist, but create a jarring push/pull momentum that ultimately mimics ….
Melancholic grooves, rage, and some tight guest verses...yes, DJ Shadow has returned people, and he's sick of your shit. 'Our Pathetic Age' marks his sixth full-length following on from 2016's 'The Mountain Will Fall', and boy it's a big beast. With 23 tracks plus three bonus numbers, the album amounts to an hour and a half of music, split between an instrumental side and another filled with some of the game's biggest figures.
DJ Shadow has long been obsessed with dystopian landscapes, and since the late 1990s, the Bay Area turntablist and hip-hop producer (aka Josh Davis) has released plenty of electronic music grounded in apocalyptic themes. But his ambitious new album Our Pathetic Age isn't rooted in science fiction; it's intended as a reflection of the now. When announcing the record back in September, Davis spoke of a wide-ranging concept reflecting a world plagued by "rampant homelessness" and "generational poverty.
Seen by Shadow as his "biggest and most ambitious" release thus far, Our Pathetic Age without question plays out like an onerous undertaking. In makeup, the double album seems like a personal challenge. It's split into instrumental and vocal suites, both of which were produced strictly by Shadow with no other musicians, and is at once his most solitary and collaborative work.