I don't need to spill any unnecessary ink introducing you to Ninja Tune, do I? Suffice to say it's one of electronic music's longest-running and most influential labels, one that has managed to stay relevant from its trip-hop, acid and IDM days to the present moment—with new releases from Machinedrum, Falty DL and The Bug.
It's been 25 years since Coldcut—the DJ duo of Matt Black and Jonathan More—founded the imprint as a home for electronic music away from the corrupting influence of major label money. They first crossed paths in a London record store where Black was working the counter, while also DJing on pirate radio frequencies and learning to program computers. They went on to revolutionize dance music as artists in their own right, with an audio collage approach to cutting and sampling that was mostly unheard of when they got their start in the late '80s. The Guardian called them "the first stars of UK dance music."
To celebrate a quarter-century, THUMP has a mix from Matt Black himself, and it encapsulates tha bold mash-up approach to building an audio narrative. "The mix is a mixture of latin party funk, dub and retro Trax-era house," Black told THUMP. "Then [there's] a set of fresh out-the-box remixes, the box in this case being Coldcut's [smartphone] app Ninja Jamm—a free music making app that's our attempt to create the lifted beat junkie's ultimate play tool." Part of the thrill is not knowing how many tracks are playing at any given moment!
Check it out below, and if you're in Los Angeles you can catch their 25th anniversary bash on Friday, December 11th, at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, featuring The Bug and William Basinski. Info is here.
Last month we aired another mix in honor of the anniversary, from the newly-signed Ninja duo of Max Graef and Glenn Astro. Listen to that here