Coldcut in bits and pieces over music industry

By Lawrence Bailey

Not even a nation of millions can hold them back. Problems obtaining American work visas almost snuffed out their North American tour out before it started, but fear not, legendary British digital renaissance men Matt Black and Jonathon Moore, more commonly known as Coldcut, are bringing their skills to the Warehouse on Sun., Oct. 29.

Establishing a presence in the mid-’80s with original tracks like "Bits and Pieces" and re-mixes like "Paid in Full (the seven minute miracle)" they parlayed that into their own record label, the incomparable Ninja Tune Records. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Ninja Tune has a compilation CD out and its founding fathers have brought their progressive live show this side of the Atlantic.

There are ulterior motives for the tour as doing work with artists the likes of Gvoon and Supersphere is augmenting the new directions Coldcut has been exploring. The duo has begun experimenting with a variety of new technologies ranging from robotics to virtual reality to their latest venture,

On top of that, they are being given the opportunity to roam and relish what they’ve created. You see, a record label can take up a fair amount of time.

"It’s just like being a daddy," Black mused, "Luckily we have a lot of daddies now."

The driving philosophy for the business venture that continues to ring true at Ninja Tune is "Careful with the cash, crazy with the music." You can’t overestimate the retail upside of an artist regardless of talent, nor can you pursue artists for merely commercial purposes, that is the Ninja Tune mantra. As a result, it is one of the most respected labels in the world today, an increasingly ugly world of commercialization and law suits (see Napster).

"You know the whole machine well needed to be set on fire," Black ranted on the impending doom of music as big business. "And now that it is on fire, I’m not shedding a tear."

When the conversation turns to freedom of information, the Internet and Napster, the heat turned up. No more discussion on the technological advances of the live show, it was getting political, it was getting personal. Referring to commercial label tactics as "mercenary," "manipulative" and "destructive," Matt Black summed up his personal take, as both label owner and artist, on the presence of Napster and its brethren in one powerful sound byte.

"Let the fuckin’ business burn man! It’s a shit business anyway."


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