The 19th (of 20) free giveaways from the Ninja Tune label, intended to celebrate its 20th anniversary, contains five tracks from Bonobo (aka Simon Green). The core of the gift is “Ghost Ship,” a bit of what might have been called acid jazz once upon a time, never before available — and with it come four remixes of tracks from his Days to Come and recent Black Sands albums. “Ghost Ship” is all looped tinkling pianos and other jazz elements turned into downtempo exotica. Also among the five tracks is an Aaron Jerome mix of “Walk in the Sky,” which has a similar feel but adds a vocal worthy of Eartha Kitt. The real keeper is a remix of “Ketto” credited to Kidkanevil, which is little more than the barest of rhythms being made as if on old soup cans with dull knives, amid a slowly swirling bed of synthesized sounds; it sounds a bit like if Konono No. 1 had taken a field trip to Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios.
Speaking of the Ninja Tune giveaways, the tracks have been coming too quickly to keep track of, since they’re available for a limited time. The Bonobo is only around for about another three days. You just missed an Amon Tobin piece, and before that was a great mix by Kid Koala that mixed up Henry Mancini and Autechre, Dan the Automator and Boards of Canada. Most of the source material for Koala’s mix was available in video form, so for kicks I put together this streaming video playlist/mixtape (which of course, by definition, misses the finesse and invention that Koala brought to his deeply transformed versions of the material):
It’s also accessible via youtube.com/user/mwd1.
Keep an eye out for the next and final Ninja Tune XX giveaway. Potentially it’ll be something from Coldcut, the duo that founded Ninja Tune, though they’re not exactly musicians who draw attention to themselves at the expense of their roster. Perhaps it’ll be a remix of an early Ninja track done up by a more recent artist signee. Given the choice, I’d appreciate some previously unreleased Up, Bustle and Out.
More on the anniversary at ninjatunexx.com, and on the label at ninjatune.com, and on Bonobo/Green at bonobomusic.com.