From the archives: Cool Kid

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IT SAYS something that classic turntablist album Carpal Tunnel Syndrome comes with a free comic book and computer game.
Now that’s value for money – clearly Kid Koala, real name Eric San, is a DJ bulging with ideas.
And never content to just drop a beat and sit back, from start to finish this album is a lesson in DJ-ing technically as well as creatively.
And clearly the leg work has been done beforehand as well – there’s no Eric B or James Brown sampling here, in fact nothing obvious at all.
From the ‘wakey wakey, eggs and bakey’ of Music For Morning People through the meandering Drunk Trumpet to the clucking bizarre Like Irregular Chickens, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is some of the most original, skilled and entertaining music to come out of two turntables.
5/5

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From the archives: Divine Grace

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IN THE pantheon of musicians who died before their time, up there with greats such as Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon, should be Jeff Buckley.
If you’ve heard Jeff Buckley’s golden voice you know what I’m talking about. Sadly, most people haven’t as Jeff, son of folk great Tim, died in 1997 while working on a follow-up to 1994’s Grace, his only completed album.
This is an album that touches people that hear it, that cannot fail to bring a tear to the eye and a shiver to the spine.
Although Jeff drowned before completing the sophomore Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk, his music continues to grow in cult status through word of mouth and influence, which can be heard in countless critically-acclaimed artists luckily still around today, such as Radiohead, Chris Cornell, PJ Harvey, Muse, Rufus Wainwright, Our Lady Peace, John Legend, Badly Drawn Boy, Aimee Mann, Jason Mraz, the list goes on and on.
5/5

From the archives: Mraz you like it

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WITH his new single I’m Yours, Mechanicsville-born singer songwriter Jason Mraz is finally getting some deserved recognition in the UK.
And it’s about time too.
I’ve been a massive advocate of reggae-tinged rap singer Mraz since his 2002 debut album Waiting For My Rocket To Come.
From the tender tracks like You And I and Boy’s Gone to the cheeky patter of I’ll Do Anything and Curbside Prophet, Waiting For My Rocket To Come was an assured launchpad for an artist hopefully about to explode.
5/5

From the archives: Head master

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IF HERBIE Hancock’s semainal Head Hunters album is not yet in your collection, it’s time for you to track it down and capture a copy for yourself.
The four-track LP was a real breakwater for the jazz funk genre, soaking the listener in squelching basslines, wah wah synths, furious-fingered piano, skittering drums and space age sound effects, even blazing trails for genres yet to be invented, such as hop hop and electro.
Amazingly, the pioneering album was released way back in 1973.
Less amazingly, the first half of the album, made up of the all-time classic Chameleon and beer bottle blowing Watermelon Man, are standards today.
Coupled with Sly, a jazz track dedicated to funk musician Sly Stone, and the wild Vein Melter, Head Hunters is a real bounty.
5/5

From the archives: Automatica choice

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OF ALL the bands you’d have expected to spawn a side project of groovy dance-floor filling hip-hop, screaming hardcore outfit Glassjaw would be pretty far down the list.
However frontman Daryl Palumbo, whose inimitable vocal style is more heavily influenced by his Chrone’s disease than any singer, created Head Automatica in 2004 to indulge his love for the distinctly un-Glassjaw genres of hip hop and Britpop.
With Dan The Automator of Gorillaz and Handsome Boy Modeling School fame at the mixing desk, the resulting Decadance album is a triumphant clash of styles.
With reggae-influenced skanking hip-hop beats meeting glittery electronica and funk-soaked indie guitar licking backing a toned-down Palumbo, Decadance was a classic that woefully slipped under the radar.
5/5

From the archives: Haunted resurrected

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SWEDISH band The Haunted managed to spirit up something special with their 2000 release The Haunted Made Me Do It.
Brutal metal is the order of the day, and yet, the album is still eminently listenable.
Nothing here is OTT – slimline riffing, vocals that are just the far side of unintelligible, and guitar solos that rarely stretch beyond 30 seconds.
The result is an album which neither offends the purists or alienates the casual metal fan.
So I’m making you do it – pick up a copy of The Haunted Made Me Do It now.
5/5

From the archives: Directors’ cut

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IF YOU’RE a fan of hip hop and you haven’t heard Gravediggaz’s dark debut, then get with the plot.
When the horrorcore supergroup – made up of Prince Paul and Rza alongside Frukwan and the now-deceased Too Poetic – released 1994’s Six Feet Deep, originally titled Niggamortis, a true classic was born.
With a mixture of black, black humour, lyrical flow akin to Wu Tang Clan’s seminal Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and brutal old school production you would expect from two all time great producers, this is one LP worth resurrecting again and again.
5/5