Various - You Don't Know: Ninja Cuts
Featuring not just Ninja (Tune) cuts, but also cuts from their hip-hop focused imprint Big Dada and new imprint Counter, You Don't Know plays it broad and experimental across three discs. With such a wealth of material, where to begin?
How about with the bass heavy? Two inclusions from Roots Manuva demonstrate why his commandeering voice is arguably the best in UK hip-hop. ZerodB give Bonobo's Nightlite a brutal drum 'n' bass makeover, an effective contrast to the ethnic vocal. The Bug's Poison Dart is devastating, attitude-filled dancehall; very "now" and sure to be appreciated by fans of M.I.A.. Perhaps best of all is Switch's choppy "fidget house" remix of Spank Rock's Bump. A quick hunt on Google can't help me identify the female MC, but it sounds like our foul-mouthed French friend, Uffie. It's definitely not a track to play in front of granny.
And what of the highlights that don't leave you feeling like you've been clubbed around the ears? Yppah's Again With The Subtitles begins with a game of audio ping pong, but turns into a euphoric concoction of guitars and electronica, its joy compounded for not sounding like anything else. Just as addictive is Daedelus' Fair Weather Friends, an overlooked pop gem from last year (where's the justice?) and comparable to a more electronic version of The Go! Team. Finally, Susumu Yokota's remix of The Cinematic Orchestra's Breathe (one of a number of previously unreleased tracks here) features a vocally weathered Fontella Bass bravely facing death over an ambient backdrop. Needless to say, it's uncommonly moving.
You Don't Know quite literally goes to the moon and back; from the creepy psychedelic weirdness of Fog's Melted Crayons to the Coldplay-styled over-pleasantness of The Cinematic Orchestra's To Build A Home. The quality varies, but much of this material, being rather esoteric, defies criticism. Fans of oddball electronica, dance, hip-hop, jazz, drum 'n' bass and grime are sure to find something new to treasure. But mainly this can be recommended to those bored of the genrification of music or looking for something a bit more challenging than that which clogs up daytime radio. If you don't know, or just think you know, you're missing out.