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

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