Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Kid Koala: 12 Bit Blues [Ninja Tune, 2012]
The turntablist prankster has set himself up to fail here, which he may think is blues and I don't, just as he may think blues recordings should be rough stuff in the Alan Lomax mode whereas I think they're better served sonically by Leonard Chess. Anyway, nobody who knows blues as well as I do, which is medium well at best, is also going to know enough about turntablist technology to truly understand what it means to eschew sequencing software in cobbling together bits and pieces of a blues album on a classic and therefore long outmoded E-mu SP-1200 sampler. Too crude not just for Muddy Waters but for one of those also-rans the Revenant and Yazoo folk sneak into their secret histories, the songs Koala fabricates are songs in form only. Yet this isn't to deny their tunes or even hooks, nor to deny they're blues. After more time than anyone from either camp will be inclined to give it, the album takes on a compelling, sui generis sonic identity, at least for someone from the blues side. What the turntablist side might think I am unqualified to guess. A-