Whether he's splicing together three dozen records into one seamless, blooping groove or sporting silk pyjamas in Dan the Automator's latest high-concept project, Montreal cut creator Kid Koala has always veered toward the extravagant.
After the release of 2000's Carpal Tunnel Syndrome disc, the scratch-mad DJ has spent most of his time in the Automator's outlandish Lovage and Deltron 3030 ensembles. Clearly, Koala picked up a few things beyond an education in fine sleepwear.
In true Automator style, his next two projects are much more than just sets of music. First up is a 350-page graphic novel that Koala's been working on for two years. The DJ actually pushed his turntable aside for the accompanying soundtrack.
"It's a romantic tragedy about a robot and a lady who both live in the city," Koala cryptically explains from Orlando, Florida. He plays a rare solo show at Lee's Palace tonight (Thursday, October 31).
"They live these parallel, isolated lives. He tries to get her attention by writing love songs, but he's a robot and robots can't sing, so the songs come out all vocoded."
The publishers asked him if he wanted to do a companion CD for it, but Koala, recognizing that the drawings were film noirish, decided to make something more suitable.
"I wrote most of the music on a Wurlitzer and then cut turntable violins over top. It's more inspired by the Amélie soundtrack than by hiphop."
Fans concerned that Koala has abandoned his side-splitting turntable antics for the more genteel world of soundtracks needn't fret. Somehow, the DJ has found the time to begin work on a proper cut-up album.
Koala laughs that his label has asked for the record to be completed in March. Bear in mind that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome came out nearly three years after it was supposed to.
"In some ways, this record is further out than the last one, and in other ways it's a return to the feel of my Scratchcratchratchatch tape," he says. "Carpal was done over four years and eight tours, and it kinda got out of control. This record's been a lot less painful so far. It still has that schizophrenic vibe, but it's different; it's a more mature kind of schizophrenia.
"I want to tour that record in sit-down theatres. There will be a lot of DJing, but we also want to hook up a lot of Terry Gilliamesque 'And now for something completely different' types of madness. We're going to have bingo and films playing. It'll be crazy.
"One thing I've realized is that I don't do dance music. My records tend to turn up in the dance section, I keep getting booked into dance clubs and people just end up confused, so next year we're going to provide the proper context to my short attention span."
KID KOALA at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), tonight (Thursday, October 31). $15. 416-532-1598.