Album Reviews

Kid Koala – Your Mom’s Favourite DJ

(Ninjatune) UK release date: 18 September 2006

So who’s your mum’s favourite DJ? Maybe someone whocan make her laugh, or someone who forms a connectionwith the listener. Definitely someone who plays adecent tune or two. The multi-talented Eric Sanfulfils all that criteria, and behaves impeccablydespite hints of schoolboy humour, but there’s just asmall stumbling block – he’s a scratch DJ, and thechances are your mum’s not too well versed on the artof scratching!

And yet Eric San’s creation manages not to draw toomuch attention to his efforts on the turntable, bymaking surprisingly emotive connections between themultitude of samples and beats he uses.

San’s semi-autobiographical album is his third asKid Koala, a personal approach that ends up with twotracks lasting just over half an hour between them.And before you cry robbery, there’s so much going onmusically in that period that by the end there’s nocomplaints.

Interestingly,Kid Koala has gone back to the reelto reel approach of ten years ago, hence the two’sides’ of music that make up the record, left andright apiece. It’s an original approach, and meanseach section is recorded live, with little to nopost-production required. Generously, San recorded thealbum without an advance from Ninja, indicating thebase of trust and mutual admiration that existsbetween artist and label – surely a rarity thesedays.

As the play between soundbites and hip hop rhythmsunfold, San intersperses them with amusing vocalsamples – affectionate and often funny, such as thecomplaint that DJs shouldn’t be playing after the10.15pm curfew. Riffs abound – hints of 12 barblues, jaunty guitar lines and unexpected bursts ofold time jazz music, all shot through with a scratchor two that’s never intrusive, sympatheticallydone.

Several themes run throughout this aural movie,drawing reference to some of San’s forthcomingcharacters, no doubt evident in the live show. Firstlythe hints of a clarinet-playing mosquito, then themusical puppet show, then three tests from a new groupSlew, no doubt featuring lovingly drawncharacters.

The sheer concentration of motifs, scratching andmelody can be overwhelming at first, but with morelistens everything falls into place and the twostrands hang together well. Lovers of experimental hiphop will love it, and those already familiar with themischievous Canadian will know not to hesitate.

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Kid Koala – Your Mom’s Favourite DJ