DJ Shadow won’t release his still-untitled new album until next year, but the artist has unveiled two new songs, “Def Surrounds Us” and “I’ve Been Trying.” The tracks are available as free downloads here.
On “Def Surrounds Us,” Shadow offers up an epic, seven-and-a-half minute groove inspired by dubstep and drum and bass with ominous vocal samples warning “though we are alive, death surrounds us.” “I’ve Been Trying,” on the other hand, might be one of Shadow’s most pop-oriented tracks ever: a pretty, three-minute ballad with soulful vocals, jazzy flutes and a rootsy, acoustic guitar riff.
DJ Shadow originally released the tracks as part of a larger project, in which he hid copies of the songs in record shops throughout Eastern Europe while on his international tour. The singles were delivered in limited pressings and each copy has unique cover art that’s hand-drawn by Shadow. “The idea is ‘shop-placing;’ it’s the opposite of shoplifting,” Shadow said. “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.”