Published in Onboard Magazine Issue 121, March 2011
The London Based independent record label, Ninja tunes, celebrated its 20-year anniversary in style at the end of 2010 with a series of gigs put on in association with DC Shoes. 2010 was also a productive year for fans of Coldcut, with the launch of new artists such as The Dels plus new releases by some of the label’s big artists, namely roots Manuva. Tying up this month’s Ninja tunes special, an album suggested by Finnish rider Joni Malmi, who is also this month’s audio pro.
Roots Manuva Meets Wrong tom – Duppy Writer – Ninja Tunes/Big Dada
Duppy Writer is not a new Roots Manuva record as such, rather a bunch of remixes by DJ and producer, Wrong Tom, who originally reworked a couple of tracks off Rodney Hylton Smith’s 2008 album ‘Slime And Reason’. This new record covers songs from all four of Roots Manuva’s main records, plus tracks from Dub Come Save Me and Alternately Deep, with the new takes primarily offering interesting stripped down dub reggae versions of Roots Manuva’s original songs.
The Qemists – Spirit In The System – Ninja Tunes
The Coldcuts no doubt kept this secret well-hidden hoping to catch everyone off-guard this autumn with the release of The Qemists’ second album. Their debut album was well-received by drum ‘n’ bass fans in 2009, however this time round the Brighton trio have broadened their sound considerably. While Spirit In The System still possesses drum n’ bass foundations, The Qemists deliver a heady mix of genres throughout this album ranging from a head-banging teenage variety of rave and rock (on Your Revolution) and electro-rap (on Apocalypse, Renegade) to soul (on Life’s Too Short), The Qemists remind us that Ninja Tunes is all about keeping things eclectic and interesting, not to mention all the impressive featured artists that helped bring this album together.
Bonobo – Black Sands – Ninja Tunes
Filling the gap between Ninja Tunes old timers and the new generation of talented young artists, Bonobo likes to dabble in a bit of everything: producing, composing, DJ-ing, scouting out new talent – namely his collaborations with the sultry singer Andreya Triana (which allowed her to produce her own album last September). While behind the moniker Bonobo hides a man, a decidedly feminine vibe highlights his fourth album released in April to, at times, mixed reviews. But mixing downtempo trip-hop breakbeats with synth melodies, Bonobo’s smouldering instrumental jazz and hip-hop will grow on you with every listen. Highlight tracks include Prelude, Kiara and the album’s title track Black Sands.
Villa Nah – Origin – Keys Of Life
It seems to be all about New Wave again these days, or synth-driven pop if you will. The influence of Depeche Mode and OMD is unquestionable on this release, but this Finish duo also have that essential ‘je ne sais bang’ to top off their debut album. And if Joni Malmi says they’re good, and Laurent Garnier’s protégé, Jori Hulkkonen, produced the record, then there must be something about them. Behind their retro electro-pop and romanticism, Villa Nah harbour plenty of ambition as you’ll hear on Time for Tea, a kind of minuet on the synthesiser. Another highlight includes the cosmic and minimalist Esmerald Hills. But the best track of the album goes to the melancholic Running On.
Audio Pro: Joni Malmi
When Joni Malmi isn’t on the hill you’ll often find him working a sweat up in a DJ booth. Spending an increasing amount of time lighting up the dancefl oors of Finland and beyond, we thought we’d take a peak through his DJ bag. And since a DJ is always there to play their best stuff ‘of the moment’, check out Joni’s favourite tracks right now…
Do you have a particular type of music or do you listen to everything?
I listen to all kinds of stuff. Different genres for different moods.
Is it the same styles that you play when you DJ?
I mainly play house, deep-, tech-, techno, nu-disco, indie-, italo-, etc... I like to throw in a 80s rock or old school hip-hop track every once in a while.
Where can we listen to your DJ talents?
I update my schedule and own tracks on myspace: www.myspace.com/joliverhouse
Tell us 3 tunes you would put in your set for sure?
At the moment, here are three pretty different songs that I usually play: New Mjondalen Disco Swingers - Eurodans, Phelps - One for Luck, Ida Engberg - Abataka
How about your local playground? Where is it, what’s the name, the vibe?
I mainly play at this design hotel bar/nightclub called AHJO in Helsinki. About 500 people capacity club. Big city vibe with good music. Mainly electronic.
What does music represent for you?
Music is with me in all parts of life. Memories, partying, inspiration, as a hobby...
Do you listen to music when you ride?
No. Hearing is part of your balance and awareness so I keep this on the ground.
What particular tune reminds you of your first snowboard trips? A tune that says ‘let’s go shred’?
All the old early nineties Offspring and Pennywise songs.
Can you list the tunes you had on all your video parts?
Oh no! 1996-2010... Too many. The two last ones that I chose myself and really like, were The Whitest Boy Alive - Golden Cage (Fred Falke remix) & Miike Snow – Animal, Fakeblood Remix.
Did you choose all of them?
No. Only about 5 out of 25. But for our movie Euro Gap (3) I coordinated the music.
What song would you love to have in a future video part?
A good band/singer you discovered recently?
Villa Nah, Helsinki 1978-1982. Both are Finnish bands. Also Adrian Lux and Sally Shapiro, both from Sweden.
JONI’S top ten ‘at the moment’:
1. Chris Rea - On the Beach (Tangoterje edit)
2. Dj Kaos - Love The Night Away (Tiedye mix)
3. Two Door Cinema Club - Something Good Can Work (The Twelves Remix)
4. Gui Borattu - Azzurra (It’s not the same version)
5. Helsinki 1978-1982 - Cruising
6. Lusine - Two Dots
7. Azari & III - Reckless With Your Love
8. Knee Deep - Sweet Love
9. Da Funk - Smoking Hawt
10. Nuovo Rich - Saffron