VARIOUS ARTISTS You Don’t Know: Ninja Cuts (Ninja Tune)

Colin Buttimer on Apr 28th 2008 09:47 pm

V/A: You Don’t Know: Ninja Cuts

You Don’t Know: Ninja Cuts
Ninja Tune 2008
50 Tracks. 224mins35secs

Ninja Tune have been going for an awful long time. Eighteen years in fact. Back at the outset, deep in the mists of time, when we were quite a bit younger than we are now (if we existed at all, that is), the Ninja crew were a bunch of cool fuckers. They rode in on the backs of the likes of DJ Food, Coldcut, Hex and co. Soon after the founding fathers came a second wave consisting of 9 Lazy 9, Funki Porcini, DJ Vadim and The Herbaliser. The early compilations – Funkjazztical Tricknology, Tone Tales From Tomorrow – were a lot of fun and contributed to a playful rebalancing of the rather-too-serious for its own good self-definition of trip-hop by Bristolian headliners (you know who I mean).

Later in the nineties and early noughties, fascinating leftfield luminaries such as Burnt Friedman, Chris Bowden, Roots Manuva and Jaga Jazzist hopped on the bus. But somewhere along the way the main stable seemed to get a bit hackneyed, those waggish ‘you are listening to a stereo recording’-type samples began to bring listeners out in hives and the Ninja Tune share price plummeted. Continue Reading »

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David Abravanel on Aug 15th 2007 01:11 pm

Cinematic Orchestra: Ma Fleur

Ma Fleur
Ninja Tune 2007
10 Tracks. 49mins08secs

The mid-late 90s produced a boom of acts deriving their sound from what could be called “jazz”. There were jazzy breaks, trip hop, nu-jazz, acid jazz. Swimming in this melee (and anchored on Ninja Tune, arguably the most quality label for this downtempo fix) were J. Swinscoe’s Cinematic Orchestra. After a minor splash with their debut, Motion, and an interesting fore into composing a new soundtrack for Dziga Vertov’s classic film, Man With A Movie Camera, the Orchestra released a bona-fide stunner with 2002’s Every Day. Featuring some truly soul-jarring vocals from the legendary Fontella Bass, in addition to what is possibly Roots Manuva’s finest performance to date on the introspective-without-getting-corny-or-preachy All Things To All Men, it was a direct hit to all those who claimed that such nu-jazz genres were derivative nostalgia with nowhere left to go. Continue Reading »

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