Tag Archives: Adrian Sherwood

Coldcut’s Matt Black Talks Ninja Tune History & Collaborating with Adrian Sherwood

Coldcut

Photo by Hayley Louisa Brown.

Because both Coldcut and Adrian Sherwood are native Londoners with a cosmopolitan taste for dance beats and crazy sonics, it’s surprising that they haven’t collaborated until now. Sherwood’s plethora of credits, in particular the reggae/dub-rooted but gleefully far-afield music of his label On-U Sound was always a perfect match for Coldcut, the duo of Matt Black and Jonathan More. Those two got their start as renegade samplers, inspired by hip-hop cut-and-pasters like Double Dee and Steinski; they then began to curb their illegalities while still pursuing the most audacious sonic gimcrackery possible.

Far from habitual pirates, Coldcut instead became shrewd bankrollers of other artists’ far-flung sonic fantasias. In 1990, they formed Ninja Tune, the label that has seen every kind of hip-hop variation under the sun, and then some. It’s spun off sub-imprints like Ntone, Big Dada—and now, Ahead of Our Time, which is actually a revival of the duo’s pre-Ninja Tune imprint. Ahead of Our Time is the imprint for Coldcut x On-U Sound’s Outside the Echo Chamber, the flavorful fruit of the Sherwood collaborations.

We spoke with Coldcut’s Matt Black about his history in music.

[For more with Matt Black, tune into the December 6 edition of the Bandcamp Weekly]

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Adrian Sherwood & Pinch on Their New Record, “Man Vs. Sofa”

pinch-and-sherwood_marc-sethi-600

Photos by Marc Sethi

On paper, the team-up of Sherwood & Pinch might seem a little too obvious. The two of them represent two fertile ends of the UK dub continuum. Pinch (Rob Ellis) is the man behind the Tectonic label, and has been at dubstep’s forefront since its mid-2000s inception, representing UK dub’s modern wing. Adrian Sherwood founded the path-breaking dub label On-U Sound Records. He’s also been a stalwart collaborator with everybody from the Pop Group’s Mark Stewart to Jamaican icons Lee “Scratch” Perry, Mikey Dread, and Prince Far I, to the Sugar Hill Records house band (Skip McDonald, Doug Wimbish, and Keith Le Blanc), the New Yorkers who played on numerous early hip-hop classics, with whom Sherwood formed the industrial-leaning Tackhead.

Given those long CVs, you couldn’t blame either man for phoning in their collaboration. That’s not how it worked out, though. Five years ago, they met for the first time when Pinch, a longtime Sherwood fan, brought his hero out to play at a Tectonic night at London’s Fabric club. They got along smashingly, and with an ear to making something each one could play during a set (Pinch is a straightforward DJ while Sherwood, as he puts it, “operates more like a sound-system,” dubbing tracks on the fly), wound up making a full album, 2016’s Late Night Endless. They got back together for the brand new follow-up, Man Vs. Sofa, whose playful title belies its heavy grooves and metallic sheen. We caught up with the duo to discuss their work habits and herbal habits (or lack thereof) with Sherwood over the phone, and Pinch via email.

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