My first exposure to Ninja Tune was in 2001 when I was browsing a small Chicago record shop and found an artist named Amon Tobin. His mix of jazz with trip-hop and dubstep beats instantly hooked me. After some prior exposure to Six Degrees Records and liking a lot of their work I dug around this record label called Ninja Tune and discovered Kid Koala, DJ Food, Coldcut, Hexstatic and others.
Their mix of traditional turntablism, and electronic music as well as the myriad of musical influences and their (maybe subconscious?) adherence to the fundamental tenants of hip-hop (ala Scratch, my favorite documentary) has resulted in my subsequent follow over the the next 10 years. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing their founders Coldcut live as well as DJ Vadim, Amon Tobin (a few times) and my favorite group, The Cinematic Orchestra– which my wife and I took the pleasure of flying to New York to see (in addition to visiting her brother.)
Their approach to record creation, like all or most of the philosophy around hip-hop and even electronica as a whole appears to fit with the concept of “sub-creation” or the idea that you’re not really creating any new but rather a new arrangement of composition of what’s already been made. I look at documentary filming and even to a certain extent, color correction, the same way. I’m taking what is already there, and arranging and composing it in a way that is a different interpretation of the original work, in the case of docs, what is already real and existing.
So check out their new website (just updated after the same design for 10 years) and see if there’s an artist you like or several for that matter. Take a look at other people’s work and see what you can harness as your own for both inspiration and the actual composition of your own work.