DJ Shadow's 2016 full-length The Mountain Will Fall was a typically sprawling, cinematic affair for the veteran producer, who continued to demonstrate his prowess at creating moody beat-scapes while relying on fewer samples than in his past work. "Nobody Speak," a brash piece of futuristic hardcore hip-hop featuring Run the Jewels, made the biggest impact out of any of the album's tracks by far, so it's not a big surprise that its companion EP, The Mountain Has Fallen, focuses on high-profile collaborations. "Systematic," originally created for HBO comedy series Silicon Valley, features Nas reflecting on the corruption of the political system, while Shadow provides laser-like scratches and a simple, funky beat. Both artists sound all too comfortable working together, and their team-up feels natural. Danny Brown contributes typically fun, hair-raising verses to "Horror Show," and Shadow's backing track is appropriately dramatic and a bit unhinged, with towering horns and a beat which trudges steadily along and comes close to slipping off the rails. "Good News" abandons any sense of linearity whatsoever, with sporadic, flanged-out beats erupting from the speakers in fits and starts, and a couple of squirming synth lines barely holding it together. It'll likely alienate anyone who thought a more straightforward rap joint like "Systematic" was highly refreshing coming from Shadow, but for anyone excited by his more bugged-out side, this track will be a giddy shot of adrenaline. "Corridors" is a collaboration with Academy Award-winning film composer Steven Price, who adds orchestral flair to Shadow's slowly developing beat and chunky scratching. Just as it's bloomed to the point where it feels like it's going to reach a breathtaking climax, the track shorts out as if the file is corrupted and all of the subsequent data has been lost forever. Side by side, the four tracks don't seem to have much in common thematically, but the EP works as a sharp, invigorating sampler of Shadow's strengths. ~ Paul Simpson
Pitchfork (Website) - "On the follow-up EP to last year's THE MOUNTAIN WILL FALL, Shadow bucks expectations and finds inspiration in unlikely collabs with Nas and Danny Brown."
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