Album: Kid Koala

Some of My Best Friends Are DJs (Ninja Tune)

Saturday 21 September 2013 05:31

The Vancouver turntablist Kid Koala's 2000 masterwork, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, elevated the scratch DJ to the same rarefied plateau as DJ Shadow, one of the few vinyl manipulators to wield the wheels of steel with genuine artistic grace and ambition. Having spent the intervening years as opening act for both the Beastie Boys and Radiohead, the Kid returns with this brief but dazzling display of slippery wrist-action. The opening "Basin Street Blues" is a brilliant distillation of the Koala style, with loping double-bass samples layered into a woozy, de-tuned jazz piece featuring absurdly treated trumpet and trombone. Elsewhere, "Stompin' at Le Savoy" scratches blues-harp riffs into what sounds like a Meters drum-track; "Skanky Panky" is warped, jelly-legged blue-beat with woozy horns lurching unsteadily around; "On the Set of Fender Bender" features berserk violin; "Space Cadet 2" slashes the calm of the looped opening chords to "You're All I Need To Get By" with a piercing, monotone synth note; and "Vacation Island" combines ukulele, Hawaiian guitar and bowed bass scratches into an idyllic but disturbed modern equivalent to the Fifties exotica creations of Les Baxter and Martin Denny. Fifteen short, startling pieces marked by a brittle brilliance.

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