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

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