A few months ago, DJ Shadow complained in an open letter about the difficulties for an artist like him, who aren’t keen on touring and don’t have much desire to court the media, to continue creating—at least at his own pace—and living off it in the new context of “digital music”. Now it seems like Josh Davis has decided to “renovate or die”, judging by his recent guerrilla marketing exploits. We’ve known since Spring that there’s a new DJ Shadow album on its way, of which we got an advance taste at several festivals this summer. Now the Californian mixmaster has dropped two new tracks. How? On the one hand, Shadow himself has given several 7” to selected record shops in the UK and the USA. But that’s not all: during his recent European tour, Davis hid more 7” in random record shops, without the knowledge of the shops’ owners. DJ Shadow explains it: "The idea is 'shop-placing; it's the opposite of shoplifting. You go into a store, and leave your record in the racks to be discovered later. It's not about being cute, it's about passing the music along in the most unobtrusive way possible. No hype, no shouting, no shot-in-the-void online campaign. Just, ‘Here you go…I’m glad you found it, and I hope you enjoy it.’ I’d rather give away free vinyl than a download, because to me, downloads are so impersonal and soulless.”
But, as the market is the boss and there’s not much to be done outside it, Shadow will also make these two new tracks available via download release, as a preview of what his new album—not yet titled but expected for release next year—will be like. “Def Surrounds Us” (described as an “electro/dubstep/dnb-inspired epic”) and “I've Been Trying” ( “an intricately-crafted soulful jam that goes down like molasses”) will be available via iTunes as of 20th September, although you’re still on time to get them for free. Since yesterday and for just 24 hours, the tracks can be downloaded from his web site, so hurry up! Given the high demand of downloads from Shadow’s site, the tracks can also been downloaded from Bandcamp.