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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Music To Draw To: Satellite

1. The Observable Universe (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

2. Adrift (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

3. Transmission 1 (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

4. Fallaway (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

5. Perihelion (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

6. Photons (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

7. Beneath The Heat (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

8. Novachord (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

9. Transmission 2 (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

10. Collapser (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

11. Transmission 3 (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

12. The Hubble Constant (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

13. Satellite (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

14. Apoapsis (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

15. Nightfall (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

16. The Darkest Day (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

17. Epilogue (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

18. Nightfall Pale Blue (Feat. Emilíana Torrini)

x

Track List: 12 Bit Blues

1. 1 Bit Blues (10,000 Miles)

2. 2 Bit Blues

3. 3 Bit Blues

4. 4 Bit Blues

5. 5 Bit Blues

6. 6 Bit Blues

7. 7 Bit Blues

8. 8 Bit Blues (Chicago To LA To NY)

9. 9 Bit Blues

10. 10 Bit Blues

11. 11 Bit Blues

12. Denouement

x

Track List: 2 Bit Blues X 6 Bit Blues

1. 2 Bit Blues

2. 6 Bit Blues

x

Track List: Space Cadet

x

Track List: Space Cadet: Original Still Picture Score

1. Main Title Theme (Open Your Book)

2. Goodbye (Page 8)

3. Remembrance (Page 10)

4. Window (Page 25)

5. Today Tomorrow (Page 37)

6. Expedition (Page 45)

7. Birthday (Page 71)

8. Void (Page 86)

9. Dawn (Page 97)

10. Cardboard Stars, Sea Shells (Page 100)

11. Speed of Light (Page 102)

12. Recyclotron (Page 110)

13. Hope (Page 115)

14. Return (Page 125)

15. Connectivity (Page 129)

x

Track List: Some Of My Best Friends Are DJs

1. Strat Hear

2. Basin Street Blues

3. Radio Nufonia

4. Stompin' At Le Savoi

5. Space Cadet 2

6. Grandmaphone Speaks

7. Skanky Panky

8. Flu Season

9. Robochacha

10. Elevator Hopper

11. Annie's Parlor

12. On The Set Of Fender Bender

13. More Dance Music

14. Vacation Island

15. Megatron Speaks

x

Track List: Basin Street Blues

1. Basin Street Blues

2. Vacation Island

3. Exciting Excerpts

x

Track List: Emperor's Main Course

1. Emperor's Main Course

2. Space Cadet

3. Barhopper 3

4. Bugs N Beats

x

Track List: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

1. Strut Hear

2. Nerdball

3. Fender Bender

4. Drunk Trumpet

5. Roboshuffle

6. Barhopper 1

7. Music For Morning People

8. Naptime

9. A Night At The Nufonia

10. Temple Of Gloom

11. Scurvy

12. Like Irregular Chickens

13. Barhopper 2

14. Roll Credits

Comments

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I saw Kid Koala live back in the day!
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moleculematt
Wow.
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just saw homeboy last night, live set w/ Deltron3030 ... amazing performance, never going to forget it.
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XOXOXOXO!!!! ancora ancora ancora
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Keep 'em comin' Kid Koala!
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Dope track!
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Whoooooooooo o o



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He UPSTAGED DJ SHADOW AND CUT CHEMIST when he opened for them in DC a couple years ago. As much as I love the headliners, Kid Koala undermined them with raw talent. So humble and genius. He scratched together two vinyls of "Moon River" (his Mom's favorite song) and it was friggin moving.
Report as inappropriate
I love Kid Koala, check out his graphic novel (and its soundtrack) "Nufonia Must Fall." He's a genius with a sense of humor, which is rare.
Report as inappropriate
Hey, nedlakire, sorry if I sound rude on this but the Music Genome Project is Pandora. And MGP only has songs from iTunes. And apperently that album isn't on iTunes! Yay. (Sarcasm).
Report as inappropriate
bcimagegroup
stompin, rompin leaves me chompin ... so sick
Report as inappropriate
thewanderer8
kid koala is the illest!
Report as inappropriate
hes got a newer album - your mom's favorite DJ.
its very good, but 2 very long tracks. Im sure that's why they dont have it in their database here.

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