Ninja Tune celebrated its twentieth anniversary this year. In that time, they’ve released a variety of experimental hip hop and electronic music and built up a large fan base. The anniversary has been celebrated in many different fashions, from concerts to box sets to books. This is all great, but none hold a candle to what King Cannibal has given us.
A relatively new member of the Ninja Tune family, this London-based artist rose to the challenge to take the twenty-year catalogue and condense it into a 74-minute remix. Using over 250 tracks as source material, we simultaneously get a history lesson, an introduction for newcomers, and an album that works on its individual merits. If you want to get a sense of the scope of the project, just take a glance at this guide that Ninja Tune provided and try not to get overwhelmed. I know I did.
After digesting the project’s breadth, the next step in understanding this album was the actual listening experience. It’s a journey, to say the least. With twenty tracks filling up an hour and fourteen minutes of music, there is much to comb through. He goes into all sorts of directions, from dancehall, grime, trip hop, house, glitch, dubstep, and hip hop. Everything Ninja Tune has delivered in its history - Roots Manuva, DJ Food, Clouddead, Neotropic, Diplo, Kid Koala, Bonobo…the list goes on. If you’re familiar with the catalogue, it will be fun to hear everything re-contextualized. If you’re new to Ninja Tune, consider this a crash course. Come out on the other side, and you’re ready to begin listening to some of the best music released since 1990.
There’s plenty to take in on The Way of the Ninja, and I know I still haven’t absorbed everything that’s happening here. The way it all comes together is both a testament to King Cannibal’s deejay/producing skills and to Ninja Tune’s diverse back catalog. Cannibal has shown us just how well it comes together, and my hat’s off to him.
|Title:||King Cannibal - Ninja Tune XX presents King Cannibal 'The Way of the Ninja'|