DJ Kentaro / Various On the Wheels of Solid Steel

Is Japanese wax-killer Kentaro today’s greatest scratch DJ? You might draw that conclusion given the fact that he received the highest score in the history of the DMC championships, but the jaw-dropping skill doesn’t come from technical wizardry alone. When Ninja Tune wanted to break more ground in the east they sent a pile of back catalogue records to Kentaro and, like parents watching a prodigy playing with toys, the DJ took some of the weirdest and less-played Ninja gems and strung together one of the greatest entries in the Solid Steel series. Sure Kentaro gets involved in mind-numbing vinyl acrobatics, but it’s his seamless blends between hip-hop, drum & bass, house and overall bizarreness that makes this turntablist a rare breed amongst most of his peers. This is the sort of mixing ability that one would require both hands to concentrate on a crafty blend, but Kentaro is dropping cuts left, right and centre on top of high tempo breaks giving already fast-tempo numbers like the DK remix of "Timber” and Squarepusher’s noodling of "Scratch Yer Head” even more adrenaline. Ripping through the Ninja discography was supposed to help spread the label’s name in Japan and now, to return the favour, Kataro is being introduced to North America. Best to buckle up for this one. (Ninja Tune)