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Not Just The Breaks

DJ Food
(Ninja Tune)

DJ Food has always been sort of a mysterious entity. Way back in the day, I picked up a double-disc set on Ninja Tune (ColdKrushCuts) that had one disc mixed by DJ Krush and another one cut up and tossed by DJ Food and Coldcut. Even after reading the liner notes and doing a bit of research, though, I still couldn't quite figure out whether DJ Food was just another name for Coldcut, or whether it was another person or peoples altogether. If you're one of those people who felt the same way, there's no need to worry anymore because it's all cleared up inside this release in a spiraled text block that will make you dizzy afterwards anyway.

It turns out that I was partially correct in my assumption above, but that DJ Food is mainly just an ever-revolving door of artists working together. Perhaps that would explain why Kaleidoscope is a slightly different bag of music than some former releases, mainly due to Matt Black and Jonathan More wanting to put all their time into Coldcut. As always, there are a bunch of different people collaborating on the release (from Tortoise's Bunky K. Brown to spoken-word artist Ken Nordine) and although it's a little more varied, it's still a pretty darn solid release.

The album actually opens up with the collaboration with Bundy K. Brown called "Full Bleed" and the track moves along with some chopped up live drumming and rather haunting tones while an old school cheeseball synth lays down some squiggles over it all. Kind of a strange combination, but it actually works. While the second track "Cookin" never really gets going very well, the third track "Break" is a hilarious 2-minute track with cut-up sample of a pool pro recounting his billiard skills over a sputtering beat. "The Riff" follows things up quite well right after that with a completely rambling track that feels like it's going to fall apart half the time while juxtaposing some bits of jazz with all kind sof crazy sound effects, funny samples, and music that sounds like it could have been pulled from an old looney tune cartoon. Just like you'd expect from DJ Food.

The track "The Ageing Young Rebel" in which the group works with Ken Nordine is also a big winner. His deep, velvet voice fits perfectly over the dark lounge sound of the track and the best lines of the poem are highlighted with bursts of horns, making it into a beat classic. While the latter half of the album doesn't quite match up to the creativity of the first part, there are still some excellent tracks, including the futuristic spaghetti western sounds of "The Crow" and the relaxing eastern influence on "Minitoka." If you're a fan of the older work by DJ Food, this one might take a little bit of getting used to, but there are still some pretty excellent tracks on the release. It's a little less beat-driven and more sweeping and cinematic-sounding, but everyone needs to chill once in awhile.

Rating: 6.75