VARIOUS ARTISTS: Ninja Tune XX – 20 Years Of Beats & Pieces (Ninja Tune)

themilkman on Sep 22nd 2010 01:08 am

Various Artists: Ninja Tune XX - 20 Years Of Beats & Pieces

Ninja Tune XX: 20 Years Of Beats And Pieces
Ninja Tune 2010
101 Tracks. 486mins00secs

It is probably not a coincidence that two of the major UK labels to have emerged from the rave era, Warp and Ninja Tune, are celebrating their twentieth anniversary within less than a year, testament that, if for many only a fleeting movement, it proved, for the most dedicated and visionary artists and labels, the most perfect of launchpads. Following last year’s Warp celebrations, it is now the turn of Ninja Tune to reach this milestone and look back upon its defining years.

Founded by Coldcut’s Matt Black and Jon More in 1990, the label rapidly established a solid roster around the likes of DJ Food, Kid Koala, The Herbaliser, DJ Vadim, The Cinematic Orchestra or Amon Tobin. While shaping the post rave electronic landscape, the paths followed by Warp and Ninja Tune rapidly diverged. The former remained close to the blend of acid house, Detroit techno and industrial ethic which had shaped its early years, Ninja Tune opted for a resolutely more eclectic sound, incorporating heavy doses of hip-hop and drum’n’bass into its expanding catalogue. Continue Reading »

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KING MIDAS SOUND: Waiting For You (Hyperdub Records)

themilkman on Nov 3rd 2009 02:21 am

King Midas Sound: Waiting For You

Waiting For You
Hyperdub Records 2009
13 Tracks. 47mins02secs

Icon: arrow Amazon UK: CD Amazon US: CD

The newest alter ego of Kevin Martin, best known as The Bug, King Midas Sound, a collaboration with vocalist Roger Robinson, investigates a hazy, greasy dubstep which, while sharing a clear taste for gritty dub and rounded bass lines with The Bug, is in essence miles apart from its incendiary missiles. The pair have been working together for some time, with Robinson contributing to a number of Bug tracks over the years, but they are brought together by a very different motive here. Working on the close relationship between Martin’s deeply hypnotic atmospheric textures and Robinson’s smooth falsetto and measured delivery, King Midas Sound is a pretty tight and dense association, with a heavy narcotic-fuelled slant and sombre hues. Continue Reading »

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THE BUG: London Zoo (Ninja Tune)

David Abravanel on Aug 7th 2008 10:52 pm

The Bug: London Zoo

London Zoo
Ninja Tune 2008
12 Tracks. 57mins54secs

Kevin Martin is quite the musical chameleon, having played parts in the jazz-minded project God, the industrial hip-hop of Ice, and guess which genre he was producing as a collaborator with Techno Animal.  The one common thread between all of Martin’s creative phases has been a kind of abrasive-yet-cerebral hardcore.  Everything is sharp and overdriven, but the edges have more of an aesthetically tricky purpose than simply to boom out speakers for the sake of it.  For the past decade, The Bug has been Martin’s outlet for his forays into Jamaican styles, primarily focused on bizarre nightmare dub visions and violently political dancehall chant assaults.  The former dominated on 1997’s Tapping The Conversation, in which Martin (along with collaborator DJ Vadim) conceived of a new soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola’s paranoid masterpiece of claustrophobic deception, The Conversation.  It was a fitting backdrop for an introduction to the dark, heavy, and distorted dub rhythms from The Bug.  It was also a fantastic dubstep release, appearing roughly a decade before the genre would officially get its recognition. Continue Reading »

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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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