Electronica blends with everything on this record. DJ Shadow has returned with The Mountain Will Fall, the long-awaited follow up to 2011's experimental The Less You Know The Better. The album features a wide variety of guests from an array of genres, providing a fresh view on an already complex electronic hip-hop record.
There are two sides of this record - the electronic, experimental and chill side, and the more upbeat and upfront side. The electronic side provides for a more provocative experience. The album features many stranger tracks that play to the experimental side of electronica, some flopping while others being strong and flowing. Stronger tracks include 'Bergschrund' featuring mastermind Nils Frahm, a glitchy and progressive track featuring lots of unexpected changes and movements. 'Ashes To Oceans' is another noteworthy track, featuring jazz trumpeter Matthew Halsall on it. The song effortlessly combines elements of hip-hop with moody jazz and electronics, taking the song through many sections and cleansing your palette with the record. Some of the stranger tracks include the glitchy 'Ghost Town' and the chilled out ending to the record, 'Suicide Pact' - this song could've actually benefitted with a verse over it. Weaker songs like 'Depth Charge' are interesting on top, but don't really progress anywhere of worth. 'Mambo' is the most left-field track on album, and not in a good way - it's lo-fi sample and minimalist beat doesn't have much going for it. The album's opener, the eponymous 'The Mountain Will Fall' leads the album in a good note, providing an easy going sound that leads into more high energy tracks.
The hip-hop and sample-oriented side of the album is where the fun comes in. It begins right after the intro track, with Run The Jewels going hard on 'Nobody Speak'. The song is huge, epic brass blaring confidently on top of epic electronic arpeggios and a signature bassline. That intro is a signature part of the record. This track is an all-around jam - very upbeat and driven. 'Pitter Patter' has much of the same epicness to it, in a more subtle manner. It's largely instrumental but features a sweet guitar line and some dark synth progressions that give off awesome vibes. The only song that doesn't really live up to the hype is 'The Sideshow', a very standard and outdated track.
DJ Shadow didn't make a masterpiece, but he did make something that's very discussable. The album has highs and lows, and takes influence from many places. It's easy to see how this album can be debated among different types of listeners. Electronica combines with elements of hip-hop provide for a refreshing listen in a genre becoming more and more saturated. Leave it to the underground artists to give us a fresh taste of a genre out of tricks.
Favorite Tracks: Nobody Speak, Ashes To Oceans, Pitter Patter
Least Favorite Track: Mambo
Rating: 71 / 100