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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Big Loada Ninja

The relationship between the worlds of electronic music and hip-hop is particularly evident in the form of Big Dada Records, a rap record label that is an offshoot of Ninja Tune Records, which is the British home to such accomplished electronicisists as Amon Tobin, Funki Porcini and Coldcut. Big Dada has recently released for free downloading and streaming ten promotional cuts by various of its artists, plus an additional six promotional videos for streaming. Listen past the rapping, and the sonic elements share a common ground with Ninja-style electronic music, with their emphasis on low-budget electronics, danceable rhythms, and taut samples. For more information, check out the Big Dada website, at BigDada.com. What follows is an annotated list of those files, produced in coordination with Big Dada. In the interest of time, the files are listed in order of recommendation, starting with the essential:”¢ TTC‘s “Je N’Arrive Pas a Danser” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Leave it to a French act to make the strongest impression on a British label. For an even better TTC cut, check out “De Pauvres Riches” in the video section, below.

”¢ LoTek Hifi‘s “Ram Dancehall” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). More Caribbean flavor, with a title that could grace a Bruce Sterling cyberpunk short story.

”¢ King Geedorah‘s “Next Level” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). A messed-up jazz beat and a host of guest rappers distinguish this cut.

”¢ Infesticons‘s “Hero Theme” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Spare as a Motown rhythm section, with a light dusting of hardened strings, this track backs an endless boast by member Mike Ladd.

”¢ NMS‘s “Brave New World” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). A rapidfire wake-up call, featuring Company Flow member Big Justoleum (aka Biggs Jus).

”¢ Infinite Livez‘s “Pononee Girl” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). A bare-bones electro cut, with thick bass and sci-fi effects.

”¢ Roots Manuva‘s “Bashment Boogie (Shadowless Tomz Remix)” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Echoes of Jamaican dancehall rhyming accent this mid-tempo party song.

”¢ New Flesh featuring Roots Manuva as Cecil Pimpernel‘s “Norbert & Cecil” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Rudimentary scratching and a light funky offbeat rhythm make this track particularly memorable.

”¢ Majesticons‘s “Brains Party” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Leave it to a British rap act to quote, repeatedly, the Pet Shop Boys’ “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money),” and add a certain element of threat.

”¢ LoTek Hi Fi‘s “Fire” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Much of the Big Dada roster has a certain Jamaican vibe, LoTek Hi Fi in particular.

Also available, six new Big Dada videos:

”¢ TTC‘s “De Pauvres Riches” (Real Video, Windows Media). Rough animation reminiscent of Robert Longo’s paintings of battling yuppies flesh out this highly recommended track, assembled from snippets of woodwinds and raw beats.

”¢ Gamma‘s “Killer Apps” (Real Video, Windows Media). The rapper as organization man, pummeling the competition on his daily commute.

”¢ Roots Manuva‘s “Witness the Fitness” (Real Video, Windows Media). Not since Biggie Smalls has a mature rapper so effortless embodied a man-child.

”¢ Ty‘s “We Don’t Care” (Real Video, Windows Media). Making a name for himself touring with Afrobeat legend Tony Allen, Ty raps with himself in this low-budget video.

”¢ New Flesh‘s “Lie Low” (Real Video, Windows Media). Tag-team jump cuts from a dynamic duo.

”¢ New Flesh‘s “Stick and Move” (Real Video, Windows Media). The trio raps widescreen in this schoolyard anthem.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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