Call the social services. [a]Kid Koala[/a] doesn’t look old enough to be out this late, never mind rocking not one, not two, but [I]six [/I]turntables with his goofball scratch’n’stomp acrobatics. The artist formerly known as Eric San is a cuddly Pokimon furball of hamster-cheeked, Stuart Mogwai-tastic, Chinese-Canadian DJ action with a permanent grin and a winning formula for club crowds: keep them moving, keep them laughing, keep them guessing.
The star attraction of a collective Ninja Tune roadshow featuring labelmates DJ Food and Amon Tobin, the Kid and his Mini-Me sumo wrestler sidekick DJ P-Love are The Comical Brothers, Toytown turntable tots blasting straight out of Trumpton. Dividing his 90-minute set between solo sessions, deck duets with P-Love and shambolic scratch’n’croon jams with his live band, Bullfrog, Koala never lets the momentum flag.
Some of the tunes are mangled classics, like the desiccated rumble of NWA‘s ‘Straight Outta Compton’. But most are (barely) recognisable cuts from his debut album, ‘Carpal Tunnel Syndrome’, including the upbeat jazztronic strut of ‘Music For Morning People’ and the rasping electro-squelch symphony of ‘Roboshuffle’.
The Koala shaker isn’t doing much we haven’t seen before from the Scratch Perverts, the Beasties, cut-and-mix pioneer Steinski or even his label bosses Coldcut. But he’s doing it with slapdash wit instead of solemn trainer-spotter snobbery, goofball party attitude rather than uptight old-skool revivalism. There is undeniable skill to his deck-shagging antics, but he puts showmanship before science, comedy before craftsmanship. And that’s just how it should be. This Kid‘s more than alright.