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Two long suitelike pieces fill most of DJ Shadow’s second full-length release, Preemptive Strike. Drawn from early UK discs, “Influx” and the four-part “What Does Your Soul Look Like” show that Shadow’s gift for working in large-scale forms was in place as early as 1993, three years before the appearance of the Endtroducing… LP. “Influx” and “Soul” wouldn’t be out of place on smooth-jazz or quiet-storm radio, drawing as they do on the mellow sax lines and string arrangements of the ’70s records that made the formats possible. “Influx” makes even a riffy drum solo and a repeated spoken bit by a Jamaican toaster fit the track’s languid feel. (“It’s only a matter of time,” another voice proclaims.) “Soul,” fully half of the album’s length, combines in its first few minutes alone a chaste female vocal, a raga-rock guitar line, various spoken-word bits, and more borrowed drum-kit smacks to set its quiet, questing tone. After those centerpieces, the new, more upbeat “High Noon” and “Organ Donor” feel almost tacked on, given keyboard lines that link them as much to carnival music or old bubblegum sounds. Still, for smart, tasteful mood music that questions the very meaning of the word “electronica,” most of Preemptive Strike is worth the long moments it takes to unfold.

—Rickey Wright