Devil's Workshop is an instrumental album that sees DJ Format going in a slightly different direction to what you might have expected. Continuing the blueprint laid down in DJ Shadow's groundbreaking early work that made it possible for a hip hop producer to create genre-defying new compositions from old records, everything you hear is painstakingly pieced together from 100% samples to give the illusion you're listening to a band assembled by David Axelrod. There's no time for stagnant, repetitive loops that leave you wondering when a rapper is going to appear, instead each song keeps building in mood and intensity by the clever use of layer upon layer of carefully chosen samples. A rich tapestry of musical instruments from keyboards, horns & guitars through to vibes, bamboo flutes & sitars paint an exciting soundscape throughout the album and make it very difficult to pigeon-hole. While it is primarily an instrumental album, Format utilises a variety of vocal samples from sources as wide ranging as '60s spoken word, '70s religious records, right up to '80s & '90s rap records, all used out of their original context to tell a new story. Devil's Workshop is far from a typical DJ Format record or a typical hip hop record and should be listened to with an open mind. Everyone may have different ideas as to the meaning of certain songs but as long as they make you think....and feel something...that's all that really matters.
DJ Format says:"I wanted to make an instrumental album that perfectly reflects my musical tastes in 2021. Although hip hop was my first love and definitely shaped my whole relationship with music, nowadays I mostly listen to '60s jazz, psychedelic rock and everything in between. I've travelled half way around the world in search of old records that excite & inspired me to make music of my own and I truly believe that Devil's Workshop is my best work so far, it's the culmination of everything I've learnt over a lifetime of consuming & studying music".
Biographical note:DJ Format's music career stretches back to the mid '90s and although Devil's Workshop is his 7th studio album it could be considered his 1st true 'solo' album. Whilst always covering a wide range of musical styles, many of his previous releases have included collaborations with artists such as Chali 2na & Akil (j5), Abdominal, Edan, Phill Most Chill and The Simonsound just to name a few. Devil's Workshop finally sees Format going it alone for the duration of an entire album, armed with only a sampler and a whole lot of dusty old records.