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MR. SCRUFF

It’s a new Mr. Scruff album and you know what to expect, right? We widdle on about sexy potatoes and bouncy bacteria offering you a cup of tea, you have a little chuckle and actually make a brew, you stick on the album and… hold on. Because you see, quietly and without a lot of fuss (cos that’s not the way the Stockport Strepsil rolls) Mr. Scruff aka Andy Carthy has been evolving and developing his music.

So yeah, you can still count upon a shedload of gritty funk and stony soul (not sure where this metaphor’s going..?) but the new record displays a stripped back musicality, a depth that maybe hasn’t been there before. It’s been coming across his last few releases, but this is the most complete, sustained exploration of where his music is at right now. In Carthy’s own pithy words it’s “tougher, sparser, less samples, more bass. More vocals and collaborations and shorter tunes.”

If this record proves anything, it’s that there’s more, much more to the work of Andy Carthy than dancefloor grooves and funny cartoons.

Don’t worry though - it is still one sexy potato.


TRACK LISTING

01. Stereo Breath Feat. Denis Jones
02. Render Me Feat. Denis Jones
03. Deliverance
04. Thought To The Meaning Feat. Denis Jones
05. Friendly Bacteria
06. Come Find Me Feat. Vanessa Freeman
07. Where Am I?
08. He Don't Feat. Robert Owens
09. What
10. We Are Coming
11. Catch Sound Feat. Denis Jones
12. Feel Free

"Ninja Tuna" sees the triumphant aquatic-themed return of the reigning yet uncrowned world champion of fish-related cheekiness. Yes, Mr Scruff is back with a long player that's packed with pure funky loveliness from start to finish. The set opens with b-boy hip hop cut "Test The Sound" before heading straight into current single "Music Takes Me Up" featuring Alice Russell ("Donkey Ride" and "Kalimba" also feature), while other special guests include Roots Manuva, Quantic and Andreya Triana. As ever with a Scruff long player we get a nice mix of wobbly bass, funky breaks, jazzy grooves and soulful touches - sometimes all in the same song!

At last, Mr Scruff's 1997 self-titled (although often referred to as "Mrs Cruff") debut album gets re-issued! It's a fantastic collection of instrumental tracks indelibly marked with Scruff's sampladelic cheekiness and fat, deep BASS heavyness. Opening with the soundsystem-like "Sea Mammal", the album works its way through head-nodding hip hop breakers like "Bass Baby" and "Bonce", via the warm jazz moods of "Jazz Potato" and "Night Time" to the funky jazz-breaking "Crisps" and club smash "Chicken In A Box", setting out a statement of intent (fun, funky and fat) for all his future tracks. A welcome return of this northwest classic, I remember obsessing about Scruff early on in my music discovery and I'm proud to see after just over twenty years I wasn't wrong! - this still sound mega today! (not something that can be said about all of Matt's furtive musical steps... - ed).

TRACK LISTING

A. Sea Mammal 8:18
B1. Bass Baby 5:54
B2. Limbic Funk 5:28
C. Chicken In A Box 8:24
D1. Jazz Potato 6:03
D2. Bonce 4:58
E1. Night Time 5:58
E2. After Time 2:30
F. Crisps 6:25

Mr Scruff

Keep It Unreal

    Scruff's debut for Ninja Tune, and it's just one of those essential LPs for fans of quirky, jazzy upbeat downbeat grooves. Includes the massive trad-jazz-house anthem (and advert favourite) "Get A Move On", as well as "Honeydew", "Jus Jus" with Roots Manuva and the silly "Shanty Town" and "Fish".

    A product of post-acid house Manchester, Mr Scruff is a complete one-off; a cheeky innovator. His debut album is a bold statement, distinctive and confident. "Keep It Unreal" oscillates wildly between opposing styles - one moment Scruff's in deep, down-tempo dinner jazz territory, the next he's in Coldcut mode, chopping out superb big beat breaks with naughty hooklines to get you pogoing. At one extreme is the wacko humour of Spandex Man, bolshi breakbeat and a hooky 1920s jazz loop that'll make you grin. And then there's the even more ridiculous "Shanty Town", with samples of a Jacknory story about a whale. At the other end of the scale, is Scruff's accomplished acid jazz - like the serene, trip-hoppy "Midnight Feast" or the smoothie cocktail number "Honeydew", with it's loungey female vocals. This man is out there, the Salvador Dali of beats and breaks.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Is He Ready..... Feat. Mary Ann Hobbs 'The Breeze Blocks'
    2. Spandex Man
    3. Get A Move On
    4. MIdnight Feast
    5. Honeydew
    6. Cheeky
    7. So Long
    8. Chipmunk
    9. So You Hear?
    10. Shanty Town
    11. Jus Jus Feat. Roots Manuva
    12. Blackpool Roll
    13. Travelogue
    14. Fish


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