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

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