April 04, 2000
Ninja Tune
Electronica, Trip-Hop

Album Review

Apparently comprising recordings from 1996 right up to the year of its release, Kaleidoscope continues on from the proper DJ Food debut A Recipe for Disaster with a collection of beat-heavy turntablist productions that often hit the high peaks of their close friends Coldcut. Since P.C.and Strictly Kev are DJs first and foremost, Kaleidoscope has an atmosphere of cut'n'paste schizophrenia, experimental risk-taking, and rampant comedy reminiscent of their previous mix-album assignments (the Warp compilation Blech and Coldcut's Journeys by DJ).
As on A Recipe for Disaster however, the production is much better than listeners should expect from a pair of turntable-twisters. Jazz is undeniably the backbone of this album, straight from the opener "Full Bleed" where a raw drumkit pounds out stuttered breakbeats with plenty of high-maintenance cymbal work. There are references to all sorts of jazzcats from the cool era, including the fiery Quincy Jones sample that drives "The Riff" and the collaboration with jazz poet Ken Nordine on "The Ageing Young Rebel." The most inventive track is undoubtedly "Break," which turns a spoken-word piece by Lightnin' Rod dealing with billiards (pun definitely intended) into a turntablist high-wire act by repeatedly cutting off the audio between syllables. Even when you've put aside the high-profile musical references and silly sense of humor, though, Kaleidoscope remains a great album. Even "Nocturne" and "The Crow," a pair of downtempo tracks with little (on the surface) to recommend them, are still very compelling. With productions these strong, perhaps it's time for P.C. and Strictly Kev to strip the DJ from their albums just to make sure no one confuses them with part-time producers.
John Bush, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Full Bleed
  2. Cookin'
  3. Break
  4. The Riff
  5. The Ageing Young Rebel
  6. The Crow
  7. Nocturne
  8. Nevemroe
  9. The Sky at Night
  10. ...You
  11. Minitoka
  12. Reprise (A Splash of Debussy)
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