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Kid Koala

Chinese-Canadian turntablist and illustrator Kid Koala was born Eric San in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1974. Classically trained on the piano, San instead put his fingers to work on a pair of Technics 1200s starting in the late '80s. He was a college pub DJ and bedroom turntable manipulator for nearly a decade before landing a recording deal with U.K. experimental hip-hop duo Coldcut's Ninja Tune imprint in 1997. San's eclectic approach to sound collage is actually closer to the latter's far-flung beat experiments than the old-school New York and L.A. references that most often form the canon of the scratch DJ's art. It's also a circle-closer of sorts: San's nascent mixing aesthetic was influenced early on by classic Coldcut records such as "(Hey Kids) What Time Is It?" and their "7 Minutes of Madness" massacre of Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid in Full." The coincidence of Koala signing to his heroes' label, despite the fact that it was based thousands of miles away, and home mostly to instrumental trip-hop and computer funk producers, was less a coincidence than it would at first appear. San managed to arrange an "inadvertent" car ride with the group when their label's Stealth tour passed through Montreal in 1996, making sure his mixtape, Scratchcratchratchatch, was in the car stereo well beforehand. Excerpts from that tape doubled as Kid Koala's solo debut Scratchappyland when Ninja Tune, duly impressed, released it as a 10" in July 1997. Koala also appeared on the second volume of the Bomb's Return of the DJ compilation with his track "Static's Waltz," another excerpt from his mixtape. Subsequent Ninja Tune releases included Kid Koala remixes of DJ Food's "Scratch Yer Head" and (fittingly) Coldcut's classic "Beats and Pieces." From there, Koala became a major member of the Ninja Tune roster, as he released several warmly received projects, nearly all of which featured his own comic book-style illustrations. His first full-length, the bewildering yet seamless Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (2000), was quickly regarded a turntablism classic. After collaborations with Dan the Automator, Gorillaz, and Deltron 3030, as well as participating in the jazz-funk group Bullfrog, he released a solo follow-up, Some of My Best Friends Are DJ's (2003). He also released a graphic novel titled Nufonia Must Fall, which was packaged with a soundtrack CD. Live from the Short Attention Span Audio Theater (2005) was a brief CD/DVD set, quickly trailed by the mixtape-style Your Mom's Favorite DJ (2006). Something of a diversion, Phon-O-Victo (2007) found Koala teaming with experimental turntablist Martin Tétreault. Koala also collaborated with turntablist Dynomite D and former members of Australian hard rock band Wolfmother for a side project called the Slew. Their debut album, 100%, was released in 2009. The subdued, piano-driven Space Cadet (2011) accompanied his graphic novel of the same title, inspired by the birth of his daughter. 12 Bit Blues (2012), perfectly titled, was made with an SP-1200 sampler and a multi-track recorder. Some pressings of the album were packaged with a kit to assemble a tiny hand-powered cardboard gramophone, as well as a 5" flexi-disc. In 2014, Koala premiered Nufonia Must Fall Live, a theatrical adaptation of his graphic novel, featuring a cast of puppets and a live score in collaboration with the Afaria Quartet. A limited picture disc LP of the production's music was released in 2015, and the show toured throughout the world, to much acclaim. In 2017, Koala released Music to Draw To: Satellite, an ambient pop full-length featuring Icelandic singer Emilíana Torrini. The album was Koala's first work to be devoid of samples -- he played and produced all the instruments himself, in addition to writing the lyrics. ~ Sean Cooper & Andy Kellman
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Stations Featuring
Kid Koala

Albums by
Kid Koala

Top Songs by
Kid Koala

  1.   Song
  2.   Basin Street Blues
  3.   Grandmaphone Speaks
  4.   2 Bit Blues
  5.   Page 275
  6.   Barhopper 2
  7.   8 Bit Blues (Chicago to LA to NY)
  8.   7 Bit Blues
  9.   Space Cadet 2
  10.   Goodbye: Page 8
  11.   Negatron Speaks
  12.   Drunk Trumpet
  13.   Window: Page 25
  14.   Birthday: Page 71
  15.   Dawn: Page 97
  16.   Temple of Gloom
  17.   Slew Test 2
  18.   Roboshuffle
  19.   1 Bit Blues (10,000 Miles)
  20.   Main Title Theme: Open Your Book
  21.   The DJ Factory Turn Crazy
  22.   Elevator Hopper
  23.   Robochacha
  24.   Third World Lover by Dynomite D
  25.   Strut Hear
  26.   Like Irregular Chickens
  27.   Skanky Panky
  28.   Void: Page 86
  29.   Denouement
  30.   Scurvy
  31.   Flu Season
  32.   Remembrance: Page 10
  33.   Drum-O-Scope
  34.   A Night at the Nufonia
  35.   Connectivity: Page 129
  36.   More Dance Music
  37.   No, Fantasy Island!
  38.   Music For Morning People
  39.   Pluto Attack (La Revanche des Exclus)
  40.   Roll Credits
  41.   Stompin' At Le Savoy
  42.   4 Bit Blues
  43.   On the Set of Fender Bender
  44.   Expedition: Page 45
  45.   Speed Of Light: Page 102
  46.   Hope: Page 115
  47.   Vacation Island
  48.   Godzilla a les Blues
  49.   Barhopper 1
  50.   Radio Nufonia
  51.   Right Side: Slew Test 2/Gimme a K!/Mosquito vs. Waterbuffalo/Slew Test
  52.   11 Bit Blues
  53.   L 'Ile aux Trésors?
  54.   Emperor's Main Course in Cantonese
  55.   Recyclotron: Page 110
  56.   Left Side: Start Heeeeears Koala/Stoppin' Traffic/Tracks Etc./Slewtest
  57.   3 Bit Blues
  58.   10 Bit Blues
  59.   Cardboard Stars, Seashells: Page 100
  60.   Michel au Pays des Merveilles
  61.   9 Bit Blues
  62.   6 Bit Blues
  63.   Nerdball
  64.   Fender Bender
  65.   Strat Hear
  66.   Naptime
  67.   Return: Page 125
  68.   Page 278
  69.   Annie's Palour
  70.   Today Tomorrow: Page 37
  71.   5 Bit Blues

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