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Artist

Kid Koala

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

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