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Kid Koala

Some Of My Best Friends Are DJs
Ninja Tune

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In the ever-expanding universe of electronic music -- which to the uninitiated can seem like a hopelessly complicated genre layered with endless derivatives and sub-classifications (downtempo, breakbeat, drum and bass, et al.) -- turntablism is probably the most user-friendly. A stack of vinyl records and a hardy stylus are the only necessary instruments; deejays make something new by combining bits and pieces from old music. And unlike many of the more stoic club deejays, turntablists often bring a healthy sense of humor to the decks. (DJ Qbert and Mixmaster Mike come to mind.)

 

On his second full-length, Kid Koala borrows almost exclusively from obscure comedy records and silly spoken-word bits, and the effect is not unlike a mix tape from a best friend who's been clever enough to squeeze odd and unidentifiable sound bites between songs. Not that the thrift-store aesthetic does any damage to the rhythm. On "Skanky Panky" and "Flu Season" for instance, both jazzy dance numbers, the sound of the record being pulled back and forth is far catchier than the actual instruments on the records themselves. The album's only low point is its length; with its modest 34 minutes of running time, I couldn't help feeling that the party was just getting started as the final track came to a close. Then again, the album does come with a beautifully inked comic book and a travel-sized chess game, as if the music weren't enough. Apparently, simplicity is getting more complicated all the time.

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