NINJA TUNE RECORDS
BY BRET MILLER
Rarely can a vinyl hound or bedroom DJ trust an entire record label's output as readily as that of Ninja Tune. Over the last ten years the independent label has released some of the best jazzy hip hop, downtempo, experimental and funky beats by Amon Tobin, Herbalizer, Up, Bustle and Out, Clifford Gilberto, Luke Vibert, Kid Koals, DJ Food and label heads Coldcut.
On the three for the price of one collection you can enjoy on disc one: the original hip hop of Big Dada Sound, Dynamic Syncopation featuring Mass Influence, T Love, the Herbalizer featuring Latyrx, standouts the Infesticons and Quannum MCs. Irrestible Force, Kid Koala and Luke Vibert come strong with some smooth jazz, turntablist melodies and funky drums respectively.
The standouts of disc 2 are Clifford Gilberto's funky big band grooves, Amon Tobin's swelling strings and energetic percussion, Loka's vibes & horns, and Arc's ambient piano jazz.
Disc 3, subtitled Missed, Flipped & Skipped, contains Tortoise remixing Coldcut, cool dub by Funki Porcini, some groovy keyboard playing courtesy of DJ Food and Squarepusher chopping up rappers East Flatbush Project.
The liner notes for Xen Cuts gives you an overview of all of Ninja Tune's releases, staff comings and goings, a complete catalogue and nsight from Mr. Sho Nuff. Xen Cuts is an excellent sampler of one of the collest labels i the world with the most eclectic yet consistently enjoyable roster. What do you suppose the Ninjas will call their 20th anniversary collection?