Published Jan 01, 2006The last time West London's original mash-up duo Coldcut issued an album, we were living in different times; 1997 was the year electronica broke in the American Midwest. We were hashing our bongs for late-night trip-hop sessions, wrapping our heads around DJ Shadow's Entroducing, and loving every moment of the Ninja Tune showcases coming our way. The label was finally throwing its weight around North America, and jaws were dropping for the likes of DJ Food and the Herbaliser.
Let Us Play landed right in the middle of an ideal situation and lapped up every minute of it. But 2006 may prove to be a more unpredictable climate for the immaculately packaged Sound Mirrors. Will a Coldcut album register in the same way now? Are the kids still hip after all this time? Do Matt Black and Jonathan More ever worry about losing their edge?
"I'm actually working on an answer version to that called Sharpening My Edge,'" says Black, on the phone from London. Although that track's not on the album, the Ninja Tune bosses have brought in a veritable army of high-calibre vocalists to ensure their edge stays intact. With Jon Spencer, Roots Manuva, Saul Williams, and a host of others on their side, the duo don't have to worry about their edge. Still, the question seems to get under Black's skin.
"I was there, you know. I read [proto-cyberpunk sci-fi novel] Shockwave Rider by James Brunner in 1975. It's too late for you young kids to read that now, and for it to have the effect on you that it had on me. Books like that shape my life, and have given me the sharpness and the vector, and I'm still sharpening my edge. As I get older, I feel sorry for the young kids who haven't had the chance to absorb the experience, because they got no fuel to work off. Coldcut are still definitely sharpening our edges."
Sounds like a touchy subject.