Label Day – Ninja Tune

“Ninja Tune is a London-based independent record label started by DJs Matt Black and Jonathan More, better known as Coldcut. The label was founded in 1990. In 1994 Matt Black’s close friend Mixmaster Morris introduced Matt to Openmind – a DJ & design collective in Camberwell – at the Telepathic Fish chill-out club they were running. Openmind included Kevin Foakes aka Strictly Kev of DJ Food.
Pre-dating Ninja Tune is the radio show Solid Steel, which Coldcut set up in 1988. What initially began as a radio show on then pirate Kiss FM went on to become a weekly podcast and also the name of live nightclub events showcasing the talents of a number of Ninja Tune artists. Solid Steel is also the name of a series of DJ mix CDs from the label”.

I came to Ninja Tune via the Hip Hop route – some (hi, nilpferd) come to the label via jazz interests (do those two alienate 70% of spillers?) anyway.. this list is some new, some old – it’s more breaks style than nu-jazz…

… and if you like what you hear- I’d recommend almost any compilation they put out – eclectic, interesting and thought provoking – from the sublime to the ridiculous.
What more could you want from a record label?

Ninja Tune 5:02 Hexstatic Ninja Tune / The Horn & Ollie
Tricky Turtle 4:39 Blockhead The Music Scene
True Skool 3:33 Coldcut Feat. Roots Manuva
All Covered In Darkness (Parts 1 & 2) 7:39 DJ Food
Dubble (Organ Swell) 6:56 Funki Porcini Xen Cuts
Hot Breath 1:36 Mack B. Dog Quannum Presents Solesides – Greatest Bumps

Fair-Weather View 3:06 Homelife Flying Wonders
Blueberry Pancakes 4:22 Fink Distance And Time
I Hear The Drummer 4:07 Luke Vibert Xen Cuts
Lady Don’t Tek No 3:36 Latyrx Quannum Presents SoleSides Greatest Bumps
Hatoa [Ft. Andreya Triana] 4:33 Bonobo You Don’t Know: Ninja Cuts
Blazin’ (Modeselektor Remix) – 4:47 Ghislain Poirier

Slap On Tap 4:20 Pest Necessary Measures
Drop The Other (Scuba’s Vulpine Remix) 5:34 Emika
How To Keep A Girlfriend 4:15 The Herbaliser Take London
Jah War (Loefah Remix) 3:46 The Bug
Ninjah (We Are Ninja) 5:16 Fink Xen Cuts
Purrfect 4:51 Funki Porcini Zen: A Retrospective

19 thoughts on “Label Day – Ninja Tune

  1. Nice one Shane, can’t wait to get stuck into these (although I think it’ll have to wait ’til tomorrow now). I finally got round to getting a copy of the 4xLP Xen Cuts compilation (recommended by either yourself of Nilpferd a while back) just a few weeks ago and have been vibing on the Ninja Tunes sound quite a bit recently…..

  2. Awesome Shane! Just what I need for a dull Sunday afternoon trying to set up a home network.
    I was trying to remember what made me buy my first Ninja Tunes comp, Coldkrushcuts, in about ’97. I think it was possibly a review in a music magazine and my interest in trip-hop, I followed up with with the rare groove/funk inspired DJ Food albums Recipe for disaster and Refried food. I’d rate Xen Cuts as the best overall NT release, I think, just for the sheer quality and variety on it. Stuff like Dubble is unique. I always meant to listen to more of the Quannum releases.

  3. The DJ Food All covered in darkness Pts. 1 and 2 really hits the spot, I didn’t know that. The bleeping sample sounds like it’s taken from the beginning of Return to Forever’s Sofistifunk.

  4. Xen Cuts – was an early one I had and is excellent.
    nilpferd recommended it a while back.

    I’ve been meaning to do this post for ages – in the last house I stacked the Ninja Tunes up and tried to organize them into a time line – but just couldn’t work out what came first – I put loads of the vinyl on the computer and really went for it.
    Then moving everything in December I crashed the computer – and haven’t got sorted with my music at all yet.
    Oh well. I like this set.

    (and the next Labour Day isn’t til September.. so I have a while to work out my next Label showcase.. or don’t I have to do a feeble play on words for a post?)

  5. I bought mostly the more whimsical nu-jazz and electronic oriented stuff in the late nineties, like Mr. Scruff, Rainstick Orchestra, Skalpel, 9 by 9, Wagon Christ, Funki Porcini, Cinematic Orchestra and Yppah. A couple of good albums in there but most had only one or two standout tracks. I’ll try to put together a complementary playlist to yours next week.

    • I had stuff from Funki Porcini, Cinematic Orchestra ,Mr. Scruff but the rest only on the compilations – I think I swapped about a lot with my friend Em who introduced me – we’d get different comps and then I have loads of Herbaliser, Kid Koala and odd albums by Pest, Homelife, Fog .. but our local independent record shop had a Ninja Tunes section, very early on (filled out with stuff that sounded like it was Ninja) so if I found I had cash left, I’d just pick up a disc and buy it.

      safest was the compilations – single albums had filler around the killer tracks- as you say.

  6. great stuff Shane..thanks….I think I prefer the breaks style rather than the jazzier stuff too and i’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for a few more compilations too. Are the DJ Food ones any good?

  7. Re DJ Food albums, A recipe for disaster is for me the stand out, plenty of breaks and electronic on there, though also some funk and jazz based stuff too. The remix album Refried Food is equally good.
    I wasn’t so keen on Kaleidoscope though, which seemed a bit diluted.
    Compilation wise, the aforementioned Coldkrushkuts has one side with a collaboration DJ Food/Coldcut mix, which I consider particularly awesome.

  8. I very much enjoyed your election playlist, and I hope to have time to listen to this in the next few days. Too much good stuff on the ‘Spill at the moment!!

  9. pantherSan
    refried food and Coldkrushkuts recommended here too. never got around to buying the original recipe for disaster.. I’ll be searching that out.

    I have to download the free ones again – as I lost them when my computer crashed – I have been enjoying the Kraftwerk kovers mix – over the weekend.

    glad you got time for the election ones – hope the household is feeling better – if you lose the post here they are now in the easy to find ‘sane asylum’ test area for a little while extra:
    I wouldn’t have posted this in all the busyness, if it wasn’t for the need to post it on May 1st, I will be bombarding the spill with things for the next month as I HAVE TO KEEP MY MINI MIND occupied – you know how it is!

  10. Great Ninja selection. Have most of the comps & a scattering of other related albums – depending on what Nilp comes up with, there may be enough for a part 3.

  11. I think another post would be great.. I know nilpf will come at it from a different angle .. so the more the merrier really.

    DJ Foods site is always worth a listen and a read – just to pick up the mixes he posts there – especially if you like cover design – like wot I do.

  12. Just started listening. Love the DJ Food, but it’s all good so far. Then I went to post this comment and lost the tunes. Grrr… going back to find them…

  13. So….if I catch up on a post a day, in 11 days I’ll be 22 posts behind. Thanks for putting it all in perspective for me, Shane.

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