DJ Shadow's ambitious new double album Our Pathetic Age is the result of an intensely creative period that found the hip-hop and electronic innovator delving further into original composition and experimentation. The first half of Our Pathetic Age features 11 new instrumental works that balance some of Shadow's most menacing sounds with beams of hope, including his first fully composed orchestral piece. The second half of is a full album of vocal collaborations, ranging from Run The Jewels, Nas and Dave East to Samuel T. Herring, Paul Banks and Wiki, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon. Shadow notably reunites with his early Solesides collaborators Lateef The Truthseeker and Gift of Gab (Blackalicious). It also features St. Louis MCs Rockwell Knuckles and Tef Poe, fellow Bay Area musicians Fantastic Negrito and Jumbo is Dr.ama, and Brooklyn MC Stro.
"More than anything, I try to get a sense of the mood of society as a whole," Shadow explains. "The subtle signals that humans send each other, the way people behave, their frustrations and ebbs and flows. In my part of the world, people are scared. There's rampant homelessness, and a real fear of falling into generational poverty. People are addicted to, and addled by distraction; they're angry and confused, and disaffected by their own governmental institutions. There's songs that are inspired by this energy and seek to harness it, to make sense of it. In some cases, there's attempts to salve the wound; in others, the songs merely observe but don't offer solutions. Despite the title, it's a hopeful, vibrant album...there is always light in darkness. I want it to reflect the times we live in, a signpost in the ground to mark the era...Our Pathetic Age."
The album was produced by DJ Shadow, and the art was created by Paul Insect, who also designed Shadow's The Mountain Will Fall and Outsider covers.