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In Scratch Happy Land

Kid Koala
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
(Ninja Tune)

After hearing his super-duper limited tape-only release of ScratchCratchRatchAtch, I was hooked on Kid Koala (aka Eric San). While it was a four-track mix, it was pasted together in such a strange way that it was one of the most interesting things that I'd heard in quite some time on the turntablist front. The main reason for this was that it was so damn funny. While most artists doing the same thing focused in old sci-fi movies or other abused sources for their samples, he went for anything and everything (including the Charlie Brown Halloween special, Monty Python, lottery commercials, and obscure how-to records) to create his hilarious, beat-driven escapades.

Fortunately, that same sense of humour comes through loud and clear on his debut release, and although it only runs 38 minutes long (my major complaint), it's packed to the gills with more wacky samples and beat trickery galore. While many may simply shrug the release off as just plain cheeseball, Kid Koala manages to almost tell stories with each track and sometimes breaks things down so much (as on the wicked crossfade action of "Nerdball") that a single consonant of a word is turned into a stuttering guide to a song. As mentioned above, though, it sometimes seems like just when he gets into a groove, the track is already over, leaving you wanting more.

On the aptly titled opening track of "Strut Hear," he lays down a wobbly bassline (that sounds like it was stolen from an old 70's police show soundtrack) under some strange samples and scratching before delvinging into the aforementioned "Nerdball" and hilarious use of a small clip from Revenge Of The Nerds. It's the first time that San really lets his skills show, and although it ends just as its really getting started, it's probably a good thing lest he suffers a wrist injury. On "Fender Bender," he drops a fun groove and even more fun samples every 10 seconds or so that break the track into almost a verse/chorus structure.

While "Drunk Trumpet" is more of a freefrom track that's all about the jiggling scratches, the two-part "Barhopper" is mainly an excuse for another huge display of silly samples over a plain-jane groove. Really, the album just goes on like that for it's short life span. On "Music For Morning People," he turns an overzealous scream into a chunky beat while at the end of "A Night at the Nufonia" finds him going absolutely ballistic on the wax in a frenzy of scratching.

If you're looking for something to dance to, this is definitely not the release to pick up, but if you're looking for something fun to soothe a short-attention span, this is right up your alley. Not only that, but because of the high density of things that are going on, you're bound to hear new things as you listen to it more and more. Hopefully, he gives us a little more next time and fleshes out his ideas into something even better. Still, a fun debut.

Rating: 7