Album Reviews

Mr Scruff & Various Artists – Keep It Solid Steel

(Ninja Tune) UK release date: 13 September 2004

Mr Scruff - Keep It Solid Steel “Hi there,” starts off opening track Intro, “This is the kind of thing we do at our night club, so if you’ve nothing else to do let’s put it on. We think you’ll find it kind of interesting… And I think you’ll dig it”

A lot to live up to, perhaps, but then Mr Scruff aka Andy Carthy is the man the NME once dubbed so cool he needed an exclusion zone around him. Surprisingly, this is the legendary DJ’s first commercially available mix CD – a departure from his own soul/jazz-fused Keep It Unreal and Trouser Jazz albums; more in keeping with his Keep It Unreal club nights.

Keep it Solid Steel is the latest in radio show Solid Steel’s CD mixes, which has featured fellow Ninja Tune artists such as Amon Tobin and Hexstatic. However, a slight departure from the current ‘one night stand’ mind set of the series this mix is to be the first in a ongoing collection from Mr Scruff intended to reflect the vastly varied music and vibes of his own ‘Keep It Unreal’ club nights.

This first CD is a rock solid foundation for the others to build on and covers in it’s 74 minutes bouncy reggae, classic hip hop, deep soul, rare funk, dancefloor jazz, heavy beats and leftfield electronic nuggets.It’s a magical mystery tour through the DJ’s eclectic musical mind and there are plenty of rare gems hidden among the 30-odd tracks.

The set kicks off with Scottish reggae from Mungo’s Hifi before moving on to Just Ice‘s Going Way Back and Erykah Badu‘s Back In the Day. There are no big tunes as such, but whole CD is peppered with classic hiphop from UTD and Showbiz to AG and The Demon Boyz and UK street soul gem Tell Me How by Sarah Winton.

There’s also rare orchestral funk by the Peddlars and Luis Enrique and handpicked selections plucked from the archives of micro independent labels like Omniverse and Orange Egg.

This is a DJ that can sell out the 1600 capacity London Forum armed only with his records. Now you can listen to the DJ at work from the comfort of your living room. Keep It Solid Steel? Sterling.

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More on Mr Scruff
Mr Scruff – Mrs Cruff
Mr Scruff & Various Artists – Keep It Solid Steel
Mr Scruff – Trouser Jazz