Xencuts (Ninja Tune) is one of those collections that’s so huge it becomes almost transparent, a backdrop against which everything else we listen to takes place. The Ninja Tune record label has been home to some of the most engaging electronic musicians of the past decade, from the Brazilian-born Amon Tobin to the Russian DJ Vadim; from the label’s sample-mad co-owners (Coldcut, aka Jonathan More and Matt Black) to the jazz-inflected relative newcomers of Cinematic Orchestra; from under-sung talents (Funki Porcini) to burgeoning turntable stars (Kid Koala). All of them, and more, are represented on this compilation — which, typical of the label’s homebrew spirit, comes in more formats than one cares to recount. Suffice to say, the harder-to-find edition includes a “Missed, Flipped & Skipped” EP of rarities by Tobin, Sukia, Squarepusher and others. Even without the rarities, though, the box is essential, as it provides a clear timeline between the second-generation hip-hop that got the label started and the ongoing innovations that kept fans happily guessing over the years. Ninja Tune was founded in 1990 when More and Black achieved major-label burnout — having gained fame for work with Eric B & Rakim, Yazz and Lisa Stansfield — and chose to retreat to the independent, artful, stealth habits of their label’s namesake. Here’s to another ten years.
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• October 13, 2016: This day marks the start of the 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project.
• November 16, 2016: I'll be sharing the mic at Adobe Books in San Francisco with my fellow 33 1/3 author Evie Nagy for an evening hosted, from 7pm to 10pm, by Marc Kate (facebook.com).
• December 1, 2016: A likely speaking engagement. Details to come.
• December 13, 2016: This day marks the 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 5, 2017: This day marks the 5th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
disquiet juntoThe Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects: • 0268 / Walking Music / Take a stroll and describe it in sound, paying tribute to the late manga great Jiro Taniguchi. • 0267 / The Metronomic Society / Create a theme song for a fictional organization. • 0266 / Vocal Cuts / Use segments of your own held vowel to make music. • 0265 / Kitchen Music / Record a piece of music that uses items from just one drawer. • 0264 / Time Travel / Record a piece of music that plays with the perception of time.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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