There are tons of great DJ Shadow concert bootlegs floating around out there on disc and vinyl, but the stunning clarity and seamlessly mixed content of the official Live! In Tune and On Time put the rest to shame. This 20-track, 78-minute CD (packaged together with a 24-track DVD) is culled from his performance at London's Brixton Academy during the 2002 Private Press tour. The set draws from his entire career, and there are lots of flips on the original scripts -- some subtle, others extreme -- to keep longtime fans happy. Deft hamster scratching and hyperkinetic jungle gymnastics juice up Private Press's "Walkie Talkie"; there's an inspired mash-up of U.N.K.L.E. tracks "Drums of Death" and "Lonely Soul"; early singles "What Does Your Soul Look Like? (Part 3)" and "In/Flux," as well as Endtroducing's "Stem/Long Stem," are augmented by harder beats, scratches and alternate samples without destroying their beautifully blunted vibe; and Shadow taps the MPC for an expertly rendered version of the ever-tricky "Organ Donor." He also drops Handsome Boy Modeling School's "Holy Calamity" and Quannum stablemate Blackalicious's "Halfway Home" (both of which he co-produced).
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Unlike with most DJs, technical wizardry and the art of songcraft are not mutually exclusive pursuits in Shadow's world, which makes this disc, like practically anything else he puts out, essential listening.