Follow Us on Twitter

Ninja Tune: Limited Edition 20th Anniversary Box Set

Ninja Tune: Limited Edition 20th Anniversary Box Set

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE Ninja Tune label has seldom done anything by half measures throughout its 20-year history, so it’s little surprise that in celebrating that landmark chapter in their history the label has put out an immensely classy anniversary box set.

Far from remaining content to deliver a greatest hits reminder of their past glories (from The Herbaliser and Mr Scruff to Bonobo via the Big Dada label and the grime scene), they have opted instead to assemble a futurespective of new tracks, new remixes and generally new material to underline just how vital and important they remain.

Ninja was, of course, the brainchild of Matt Black and Jon More (aka Coldcut) and over the years has been a breeding ground for some of the trendiest new UK acts of the moment – whether it be DJs like Bonobo or class acts like Amon Tobin and The Cinematic Orchestra.

There’s also a thriving urban scene, as exemplified by the Big Dada label that has given rise to acts like Roots Manuva.

This compilation package comes in various formats, but essentially contains a staggering 106 tracks, all housed in limited edition, hi-spec packaging designed and conceived by Ninja artwork legend Openmind.

If we’re being ultra, ultra critical, there’s probably too strong an emphasis on more urban acts… which has never been our favourite aspect of the Ninja label. But there’s so much else to enjoy that it almost seems churlish to even dare to criticise.

This is, after all, a lovingly assembled package that’s both reflective of the label’s rich past, and its importance moving forward.

Highlights, therefore, include anything by Bonobo, Dan Le Sac’s remix of PRDCTV’s Metropolis, a Joker mix of The Heavy’s How You Like Me Now and an EL-B remix of Fink’s This Is The Thing.

New discovery and regular Bonobo collaborator Andreya Triana features a couple of times (and typically seductively), Bonobo himself unites with Speech Debelle for a cracking version of Sun Will Rise, and Lou Rhodes wraps her sensuous vocals around a Cinematic Orchestra strings-drenched version of One Good Thing, which is heartbreakingly simple.

Yppah drops a classic cut in Never Mess With Sunday to underline his cool status as the next DJ Shadow, Amon Tobin gets blip heavy, Africa influenced and extremely funky with Eight Sun and a Gaslamp Computer Killer Remix adds contemporary street cred (and political resonance?) to DJ Vadim’s provocative The Terrorist.

Coldcut get a look in with a King Jammy Dub of their seminal cut Man In A Garage and Mr Scruff crops up a couple of times with pleasing versions of Pickled Spider (versus Kirsty Almeida) and Believe.

There’s even material from Ninja newcomers such as Pop Levi, Blockhead and The Bug that ought not to be missed, while Ninja stalwarts such as Eric B & Rakim, DJ Food and The Herbaliser are also to be found.

All in all, then, a glorious celebration of all things Ninja… and to suit all tastes that they’ve catered for down the years. Here’s to the next 20!

Track listing:
CD1

  1. Two Fingers – Fools
  2. Roots Manuva – It’s On
  3. Toddla T – Want U Now’ (feat. Ms Dynamite)
  4. Dorian Concept – Her Tears Taste Like Pears
  5. Zomby – The Forest
  6. Offshore – Jen At The Station
  7. Emika – Double Edge
  8. Toddla T – Sky Surfing (Benga Remix)
  9. Big Dada Sound – Signs
  10. Coldcut & Hexstatic – Timber (Seiji Remix)
  11. Andreya Triana – Lost Where I Belong (Flying Lotus Remix)
  12. The Bug – Catch A Fire
  13. The Bug – Tune In (Version)
  14. Eskmo – Cloudlight
  15. Daedelus – LA Nocturne

CD2

  1. Roots Manuva – Dub Styles (Micachu Remix)
  2. Diplo – Summer’s Gonna Hurt You (Diplo 2010 Remix)
  3. The Heavy – How You Like Me Now? (Joker Remix)
  4. Stateless – Ariel (Rustie Resmak)
  5. Diplo – Newsflash (Metronomy Remix)
  6. PRDCTV – Metropolis (Dan Le Sac Remix)
  7. Dark Sky – Leave
  8. The Long Lost – Woebegone (Flying Lotus’ Like Woe Remix)
  9. Spank Rock – What It Look Like (Todd Edwards Remix)
  10. Shuttle – Lion
  11. Poirier – Get Crazy (Mark Pritchard Dub)
  12. Jammer – One Over Me
  13. Fink – This Is The Thing (EL-B Digital Edit)
  14. Amon Tobin – Lost & Found

CD3

  1. Lou Rhodes – One Good Thing (The Cinematic Orchestra’s New York Quartet Version)
  2. Bonobo & Speech Debelle – Sun Will Rise
  3. Grasscut – Blink In The Night
  4. Bonobo & Andreya Triana – Wonder When
  5. Quincy & Xen Cuts Allstars – I Hear The Drummer’ (Tunng Edit)
  6. Yppah – Never Mess With Sunday
  7. Jaga Jazzist – Endless Galaxy
  8. Cougar – $64k Rainbow
  9. Amon Tobin – Eight Sum
  10. DJ Vadim – The Terrorist (Gaslamp Computer Killer Remix)
  11. Roots Manuva – Witness (Slugabed Remix)
  12. Andreya Triana – A Town Called Obsolete’ (Mala Remix)
  13. Coldcut – Man In A Garage (King Jammy Vocal)
  14. Lorn – Soft Room
  15. Loka ‘The Beauty In Darkness
  16. Paris Suit Yourself – I’ll Let You Know
  17. Jono McCleery – Tomorrow (Edit)
  18. Floating Points Ensemble – Post Suite

Disc 4

  1. Eskamon – Fine Objects
  2. The Bug – Skeng (Autechre Remix)
  3. Emika – Drop The Other (Daedelus Fragments Into A Thousand Little Pieces)
  4. Amon Tobin – Bloodstone (King Cannibal Remix)
  5. Amon Tobin – Foley Versions (Kronos Quartet Interpretation)
  6. Anti-Pop Consortium – Volcano (Four Tet Remix)
  7. DELS – Eating Clouds
  8. Mr Scruff & Kirsty Almeida – Pickled Spider
  9. Jaga Jazzist – Toccata (Grasscut Remix)
  10. The Death Set – Impossible (Shuttle Remix)
  11. Daedelus – Trouble With A Capital D
  12. Roots Manuva – Let The Spirit (Hot Chip Remix)
  13. Mr Scruff – Believe
  14. Bonobo – Eyesdown feat. Andreya Triana (Floating Points Remix)
  15. Shuttle – Tunnel

CD5

  1. Coldcut – Autumn Leaves’ (2010)
  2. Floating Points Ensemble – (MTBX2 title TBC)
  3. Bonobo – Stay The Same Welder remix
  4. The Cinematic Orchestra – Familiar Ground (Solid Steel version)
  5. Bonobo – Eyesdown (feat. DELS)
  6. Kyle Hall – Golden Moments
  7. Jaga Jazzist – Synchronise Your Watches
  8. Roots Manuva – The Falling (Doomed remix)
  9. The Herbaliser – Something Wicked (Roots Manuva’s Haunted House Dub)
  10. Coldcut – Man In A Garage (King Jammy Dub)
  11. Fink – See It All (Scuba Remix)
  12. Clifford Gilberto – Deliver The Weird (Dorian Concept Remix)
  13. DJ Food – African Rhythms (Tom Middleton Remix)
  14. The Qemists – Don’t Lose It

CD6

  1. Roots Manuva – Witness (Modeselektor’s Troublemaker Rmx)
  2. Coldcut – True Skool (Zomby Remix)
  3. The Bug – Poison Dart (Prefuse 73 Broke Moog Version)
  4. Coldcut & Hexstatic – Timber (Super Sargasso Orb Mix)
  5. DJ Food – Dark Lady (Alix Perez Remix)
  6. Kid Koala – 3 Bit Blues
  7. DJ Food – 20/20 Rhythm
  8. Blockhead – Ugly Brown
  9. DJ Food – Dark Lady (808 State Remix)
  10. Roots Manuva – Join The Dots (Cut Chemist Remix)
  11. Shuttle – Rotten Guts (Gold Panda Remix)
  12. DJ Vadim – Yea Man They Listening
  13. Wiley – My Mistakes (JME Remix)
  14. King Cannibal – The Grind & Crawl
  15. Blockhead – The Music Scene (EL-P Remix)
  16. Cedell Davis – Been Through Some Stuff (cLOUDDEAD Remix)
  17. The Heavy – What’s So Good Bout Goodbye