Various VariousNinja Tune XX: 20 Years of Beats & Pieces
Those of us who are nostalgic for the regime of the 90’s look back on the past and wonder what’s going on with the 21st century. This reactionary rage is applicable to all areas of life. Music is obviously not excepted from our prejudices as embittered elders. So you have to understand that for a guy who hates the modernity and bloody musical idiocy that has invaded us -a guy who recognises the 90’s as the only era of pure happiness in his miserable life- Ninja Tune is practically the electronic Holy Grail of times that were always better. Ahhh, those were the days …
Jonathan More and Matt Black were goddamn visionaries. When they decided to raise a musical platform for their devotion to the sampler and collage, they laid the first brick in a monumental construction built in honour of the most incorruptible electronic independence. It’s spectacular to look back and see how influential the Ninja shadow has been, and how much it has showed its impeccable handling to the new cats who believe in self-sufficiency. Those of us who were in our twenties during the 90’s, and who flipped over breaks, cuts, clicks, pastes and fast guys with baseball caps and joints know how deep this devotion reaches, and we understand the pomp and circumstance put on by the label to celebrate these 20 years of wine and roses perfectly well. Exemplary of the pomp, we have the giant box that we approach like kids on Christmas morning. It’s a box for a celebration like it should be, my friends. Let’s stick our noses in and see what’s inside.
In strictly musical terms, I would need two thousand rolls of papyrus to relay the musical charms of this Concord. What I do have to say is that all of those who were there and will be there appear. In other words, past, present, and future –especially the future, which is a really good idea– of the label and its outside allies find themselves in a collision of cosmic proportions, which might even cause a sweet overdose. As might be expected of a label that does things right, almost all of the cuts and remixes are unpublished. It’s material that’s still throbbing, with names like Roots Manuva, Toddla T, Zomby, Eskmo, Daedelus, The Bug, Diplo, Mr. Scruff. DJ Food, DJ Vadim, Coldcut, Hot Chip, Autechre, Grasscut, El-P, Modeselektor, Dorian Concept, Flying Lotus, Amon Tobin, Wagon Christ, Tom Middleton… Arrrrrrrgh, somebody give me some oxygen, my God! A constellation of superheroes of beat that leaves you breathless and fills up a collection of six CDs –you heard me, six– without a single cut that smells a bit off. But that’s not all—collectors will also get a monumental hit when they slip their hands inside to find six jewels on 7” with twelve more cuts, songs and remixes, courtesy of Bogus Order, Kid Koala, King Geedorah, Spank Rock, and Matthew Herbert, among other sacred luminaries. People who buy the box set also get an extra prize, since Ninja Tune has planned to sell the first four compacts separately, but the last two belong exclusively to the box. So it’s worth buying it for this privilege alone, as well as that of knowing that the rest of the world doesn’t have them.
There’s more, don’t anybody get up out of their seat, we haven’t landed yet. Keep on exploring the insides of this marvellous brick, and you’ll find a hard cover book almost 200 pages long, reviewing the life of Ninja Tune, some stickers for your kids’ folders, and a poster with the family tree of the British label so that you can decorate your living room properly. Songs and remixes that are mostly new and exclusive (106 in total), 6 CDs (two of them exclusively for this edition), 6 7” records, a luxurious book, a poster, stickers, high-class packaging with design (classic Ninja Tune)… It’s brutal. I can only say this: turn tricks, steal, kill, sell drugs, weapons, organs, or even people if need be, but in the name of all that’s holy, get the money that this bulldozer costs. There are only 3,500 copies of it and it would be a pity if right under your nose, someone whipped away this item that belongs to you by rights, and which you have earned with the sweat of your brow for, ooph, twenty years. Grey hair always goes first in cases like this. Óscar Broc