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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.   Emperor's Main Course in Cantonese
  6.   Nerdball
  7.   Transmission 2
  8.   Novachord
  9.   Photons
  10.   Denouement
  11.   3 Bit Blues
  12.   L 'Ile aux Trésors?
  13.   Left Side: Start Heeeeears Koala/Stoppin' Traffic/Tracks Etc./Slewtest
  14.   Elevator Hopper
  15.   Stompin' At Le Savoy
  16.   Strat Hear
  17.   Like Irregular Chickens
  18.   Temple of Gloom
  19.   Fender Bender
  20.   Annie's Palour
  21.   11 Bit Blues
  22.   Birthday: Page 71
  23.   Beneath the Heat
  24.   Barhopper 1
  25.   Main Title Theme: Open Your Book
  26.   Fallaway
  27.   Space Cadet 2
  28.   The Observable Universe
  29.   Drunk Trumpet
  30.   10 Bit Blues
  31.   4 Bit Blues
  32.   Skanky Panky
  33.   Naptime
  34.   Expedition: Page 45
  35.   6 Bit Blues
  36.   Goodbye: Page 8
  37.   No, Fantasy Island!
  38.   More Dance Music
  39.   Pluto Attack (La Revanche des Exclus)
  40.   Right Side: Slew Test 2/Gimme a K!/Mosquito vs. Waterbuffalo/Slew Test
  41.   Negatron Speaks
  42.   Remembrance: Page 10
  43.   Transmission 3
  44.   Adrift
  45.   5 Bit Blues
  46.   8 Bit Blues (Chicago to LA to NY)
  47.   Roboshuffle
  48.   Slew Test 2
  49.   Drum-O-Scope
  50.   Hope: Page 115
  51.   9 Bit Blues
  52.   Vacation Island
  53.   Dawn: Page 97
  54.   Satellite
  55.   Recyclotron: Page 110
  56.   Transmission 1
  57.   Roll Credits
  58.   The Darkest Day
  59.   Nightfall Pale Blue
  60.   Music For Morning People
  61.   Strut Hear
  62.   Apoapsis
  63.   Perihelion
  64.   1 Bit Blues (10,000 Miles)
  65.   Window: Page 25
  66.   Void: Page 86
  67.   Cardboard Stars, Seashells: Page 100
  68.   The DJ Factory Turn Crazy
  69.   Page 275
  70.   Radio Nufonia
  71.   Third World Lover by Dynomite D
  72.   Speed Of Light: Page 102
  73.   Collapser by Emiliana Torrini
  74.   Today Tomorrow: Page 37
  75.   Return: Page 125
  76.   Epilogue
  77.   Scurvy
  78.   The Hubble Constant
  79.   Page 278
  80.   7 Bit Blues
  81.   Godzilla a les Blues
  82.   Robochacha
  83.   Flu Season
  84.   A Night at the Nufonia
  85.   On the Set of Fender Bender
  86.   Connectivity: Page 129
  87.   Michel au Pays des Merveilles
  88.   Barhopper 2

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