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Beat Freaks

Let Us Play!
(Ninja Tune)

Matt Black and Jonathan More are a couple of guys that you just have to give some respect to. They've been on the scene in one form or another for over ten years and recently they've been super-prolific as cut-up group Coldcut. In only about 3 years time, the group has released two full-length CD's and 3 EP's, as well as having their hand in multimedia ventures such as videos for their music, remixing software (that comes packaged on one of their discs), and other fun interactive stuff. In addition to all this, they've put some thought behind what they've created and it shows. With this release, you get two of the above. Let Us Play! is a 2CD set of media from the group. The first CD contains a full-length album (75-minutes) of music, while the second one is "an interactive toy box full of games, toys and videos."

The music part of the disc is fairly engaging and it starts out with a slower, funky track called, "Return to Margin." It moves along with chimes and a laid-back drum backbeat before going haywire at the end. "Atomic Moog 2000" (also available as a maxi-single) is a fairly direct statement on the subject of nuclear weapons. If you have yet to hear, "More Beats and Pieces," you're missing out on one of the more entertaining and accomplished pieces of cut-up music in recent memory. Comprised of about 200 or more different samples, it changes up about every 15 seconds and never, ever gets boring. Another one of these cut-up sessions arrives on the track "Timber," but it succeeds more in it's use of found-sound than previously recorded bits. Finally, "Every Home A Prison" features Jello Biafra on an over-the-top rant that sounds like a coffee-shop performance jacked-up beyond belief.

The 2nd disc of multimedia (that works on both Mac and PC) is a nice addition, especially because you get to see the awesome videos that the group has put together for their music. Not only are they really well done, but they're funny and actually have a message behind them. The interface is fairly easy to get around in and it makes for some fun tinkering around. Overall, the group shows that they still have what it takes to create interesting music. They're also interested in the other possibilities there is to offer media-wise and it's cool to see their videos (which you'd probably never have a chance to check out otherwise).

Rating: 7