Ninja Tune founders Coldcut (Jon More and Matt Black) are back. The grandmasters of UKcut ‘n’ paste and founders of the Ninja Tune rebel alliance return with a new cocktail of music, words and images that Black describes as “dissentertainment”. The release also sees the revival of Ahead Of Our Time, the label name Matt and Jon chose for their first records. It was premiered via a Q+A with Quietus this morning.
One Coldcut hallmark has been their skill at choosing collaborators, and “Only Heaven” is no exception. First up, they recruited super producer Dave Taylor (Switch / With You.) to work with them. Best known for his stint as Major Lazer with Diplo, Taylor has also produced for M.I.A., Santigold, Beyoncé and many more. The new music here was recorded with him at the Woodshed Studios in Malibu, California. To keep the vibe sharp Coldcut then brought in some UK vocal muscle in the form of Roots Manuva. Persuading Thundercat to lay down some bass iced the cake.
The results are, as you’d expect, sensational. “Only Heaven” offers a falling, music-box, dislocated soulful sadness. Over it, Roots Manuva lays out a trademark stream of consciousness performance, both impassioned and alienated. The beauty here is just how good they make it sound, a kind of anthem for doomed youth as alluring as it is sad.
This being Coldcut, audio is always combined with visual – and with politics. The duo have been working with RCA students and alumna Kim Rugg to re-imagine cultural activism in an ongoing program. Questioning, questing, still playful yet on the bleeding edge.
Coldcut are back.