KID KOALA plays the Hoxton on Friday (November 30). See listing. Rating: NNNN
In an era when many young DJs have never even touched vinyl, where does an old-fashioned turntablist like Kid Koala fit? Choosing to make an album based on the manual triggering of a vintage sampler and traditional record-scratching in 2012 feels as self-consciously retro as putting out a banjo album of old hillbilly songs on a wax cylinder or raising chickens in your backyard. Actually, when you put it that way, maybe 12 Bit Blues is perfect for this moment after all.
As you've probably guessed from the title, this is a reimagining of early blues, combining snippets and fragments into new compositions that feel surprisingly reverential about the source material. Kid Koala might be known for his light-hearted approach, but nothing here feels inappropriately kooky. The looseness of the "playing" and the warmth of the lo-fi samples are integral to the album's appeal. If he'd cleaned this up too much on a computer, a lot of its quirky charm would've been lost.
Top track: 2 Bit Blues