Turntablism gets so wanked off by the general populace as spinning and grinning, mostly because there's little appreciation for the technical aspects. It's boring to look at a lot of the time, and people are pretty well spent on watching the DMC World Championships. The audiences stand (or sit) in place and applaud. It's very reverential and a bit voyeuristic.
Kid Koala is basically a different story.
As one of the true stars, if there can be stars of this worn scene, Koala has toured the globe with the likes of Radiohead and Gorillaz (for whom he scratches) and is responsible for some of the best, booziest turntable albums ever laid down. So it's natural that he'd get a live EP with an accompanying DVD that documents some of his trippier wax-melting on the road. The music consists of lots of woozy jazz chopped up to smooth effect over spare but effective drums and cuts. Koala, pal P-Love and DJ Jester swap duties during the show, effectively forming a turntable band.
Classic records like "Drunk Trumpet" get the crowd whoopin' and hollerin'. But
the stuff that shakes my chain are the hazy joints Koala (né Eric San)
spins from the soundtrack to his
comic book, "Nufonia Must Fall," and the selections from 2003's Some of My
Best Friends Are DJs. "Skanky Panky," in particular, creeps along relentlessly
to a stand-up bass loop and lurching horns that fall all over each other.
The treat of the record, though, is the DVD that includes the animated video for "Basin Street Blues," perhaps the saddest turntable jam ever recorded, and three more shorts directed by Monkmus, whose globular black-and-white animations have the unique ability to creep out and draw in at the same time.
The thing is, this is too short. Koala has only recorded a few albums, but each has an abundance of highlights, and his mixtapes are practically mythical. His live show is also a dazzling display of restraint and skill. I once saw him flip Jessica Rabbit's "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" purring croon into a full-on symphony of sexual melisma. Still, while there are curiously only five songs on the EP, each track manages to maintain its own identity without damaging the flow of the proceedings. And without a needle skip to be found.