100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #88 DJ Shadow – Building Steam With A Grain of Salt

Released : 1996

In just a few years many things that were born underground, unlicensed and under the radar ended up being bought and sold; whether your poison was rave, jungle or hip-hop, the man was now in full control and skimming plenty of money off the top.

Josh Davis had started out as a college radio DJ in the late 80’s, before the eclecticism of his early collaborations almost single-handedly created an entire sub-genre of experimental music. Fusing samples with hip-hop beats to make abstract, textured soundscapes, it was this alchemical genius which spawned the term “Trip Hop” in the British music press.

Without his debut album Entroducing it’s hard to see a world with Producer/MC’s like MF DOOM or J Dilla, much less the enchanted hauntology of Boards of Canada’s Music Has The Right To Children. Building Steam From A Grain Of Salt precised what was to come, an ominous, celestial sketch featuring Aquarian voices, saturnine funk and a funereal piano loop. On it Davis, after hearing nothing good in this new world had simply created his own, bringing with him a thousand ghosts in the machine that would each get their fifteen seconds of fame.


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