Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

We Like To Dig The Roots: Coldcut’s Favourite Albums

As Ninja Tune founders and Coldcut men Matt Black and Jonathan More release a new Adrian Sherwood-produced new LP they talk Lottie Brazier through the records that sparked their lifetime of eclectic music-making

When you imagine the early days of sampling, musique concrète might come to mind, if not perhaps minimalist music or Steve Reich. But it was also a technique used early on by visual artists, as Jonathan More of Coldcut explained to me during the course of this Baker’s Dozen interview. It’s something which comes as a little surprising at first, but really it makes sense that the first sound designers would also be visual designers as well. Why should it be so surprising that Salvador Dali made a spoken word record that sampled classical music? But of course these ideas would be quite uncommercial – it took the added input of Coldcut’s (eternally consuming) imagination to translate them into pop arrangements that were an atmospheric mashup of hip-hop, dub, punk and funk. It’s why with their record label Ninja Tune they’ve released (and continue to release) some of the most diverse, Quietus-favourite albums from the UK and beyond. It’s also what makes their union with producer Adrian Sherwood, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Junior Reid, Toddla T, Roots Manuva on new album Outside The Echo Chamber such a success.

It all stems back to Matt Black and Jonathan More’s early listening habits as detailed in their Baker’s Dozen, which sound almost innocently open-minded – skinning up to play Steve Reich followed by Lee Perry on pirate radio. Like all wise-minded people, Coldcut didn’t ever see a point listening to music in boxed off styles or genres.

Even though my conversations with Matt and Jon were both held separately, it’s very clear as to why they work well as a duo. Although they share enthusiasms for time periods in music history there are subtle divergences, and they almost seem to fight over the choice of Music For 18 Musicians – hence it’s inclusion twice here.

Click the Coldcut image below to begin reading the selections. Outside The Echo Chamber is out now on Ninja Tune

First Record

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