Review: Jack Foley
LISTENING to Kid Koala's second album, Some of My Best Friends
are Djs, is rather like watching an extended children's cartoon.
It's fast, furious, occasionally funny, and occasionally tiresome
- yet their is undeniably a guilty pleasure about it.
The Japanese-Canadian mixer, aka Eric San, would probably agree,
too, having lovingly packaged his CD with a self-penned, 52-page
comic, which provides further clues as to the manner in which
this should be listened to.
Having worked with the likes of Money Mark and Deltron 3030,
and supported the Beastie Boys on tour, San's debut album, in
2000, was a weird and farily inaccessible effort, which sounded
a little too self-indulgent.
With Some of My Best Friends... the emphasis seems more
to be on having fun in a way that everyone can enjoy, even if
the collection of beats, breaks and samples sounds like the type
of thing DJ Shadow might put together when excessively drunk.
Part of the joy and frustration of listening to the album is
the quick fix it provides - hence, if something doesn't work,
it doesn't hang around for long; but if it does, it'll have you
yearning for more.
This is its biggest asset, and its achilles heel; you can't help
but feel frustrated by it, even though you may find yourself laughing
along with it.
Kid Koala has often been referred to as hip-hop's equivalent
to a Dj comedian. And the samples, and quirky sounds which proliferate
throughout, certainly sound like an in-joke at the mainstream's
And there is no getting away from the endearing quality of tracks
such as Basin Street Blues, or Radio Nufonia, which
offset some neat scratching with a lazy wade through old blues
and jazz samples.
Skanky Panky, as its name suggests, arrives like a deliberately
skew-whiff fusion of everything that Koala can put together, and
taken alone, would sound like a mess; yet in the context of the
album, just about works.
But then this is a good way of summing it up as a whole; tricksy,
mixed up, quirky, yet endearing, and one which never fails to
command your complete attention.
1. Strat Hear
2. Basin Street Blues
3. Radio Nufonia
4. Stompin At Le Savoy
5. Space Cadet 2
6. Grandmaphone Speaks
7. Skanky Panky
8. Flu Season
10. Elevator Hopper
11. Annies Parlour
12. Bonus Materials: On the Set of Fender Bender (Bonus)
13. More Dance Music (Bonus)
14. Vacation Island (Bonus)
15. Negatron Speaks (Bonus)
16. Basin Street Blues (Video)