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Cuttin' Up Records Like A Samurai

Various Artists
(Ninja Tune)

This is a 2-CD set of tunes from the Ninja Tune catalog. The two discs are mixed by DJ Krush, and Coldcut and DJ Food respectively, and feature tons of talent from the label. The DJ Krush mix is definitely the more cohesive of the two discs. It features several tracks by the group London Funk Allstars and contains more vocals than the other mix. It wanders in and out of beats and is solid throughout.

In my mind, the second disc is the one that really makes this set, though. On this almost 70-minute excursion, Coldcut and DJ Food literally slice through every genre on the label. They throw in some hip-hop, some breakbeats, some nice female vocal parts, and even manage a bit of screwball lounge. It is this constant variance that really keeps the listener on their toes. "Creatures" by Amon Tobin rocks out with hard drum and bass, but two songs later, a loosely strung banjo and an old saloon piano are the key ingredients in Up, Bustle, and Out's haunting "An Unmarked Grave In Memory of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid."

If you want an introduction to some of the music that Ninja Tune has to offer, this 2-CD set might be the way to go. There are about 20 artists featured, and the two discs offer a lot in the way of showcasing the different styles of the label. Plus, there's enough dope beats and crazy scratching to boggle your mind for days.

Rating: 7.25