Critiques CD: Kid Koala | 12 Bit Blues

Critiques CD: Kid Koala | 12 Bit Blues

Anything’s fair game for the sweeping imagination of Eric San – master scratcher, illustrator and turntablist boy wonder. On 12 Bit Blues, his first full-length since 2006’s Your Mom’s Favorite DJ, the musically gifted marsupial revisits blues to build a terrific, rootsy tribute to a bygone era. Keeping in mind blues’ longstanding tradition of open wounds and raw emotion, Koala does away with all slick computer technology to stay true to the genre’s DNA. In this organic reimagining of 12 blues tracks (simply titled “bit blues” and numbered sequentially), Koala plays with tempos, scratches hooks, refashions beats and slows down vocals with the help of some legendary gear – you could say he gives blues the E-mu SP-1200 treatment (a classic drum machine and sampler from the early hip-hop era). The result might even enchant hardheaded blues purists, even though he strips down compositions to their most elemental form, using them as melodic primer to paint over a fresh coat. Whether he’s weaving in soulful samples, brooding beats, clipped bits of spoken word humour or howling basslines, his travelogue-like tracks ooze old-time soul AND swagger. What more could a blues man ask for? 

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