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

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