i was a little bit annoyed when i got that email from ninja tune earlier on, the one announcing that they were giving away coldcut‘s journeys by dj mix for free. i first heard of this mix in 2001 when i read about the jdj series in a magazine that i believe was called seven. it told of this excellent string of releases from the mid-90s, put together by the cream of the uk’s djing talent, guys who are still on top of their game like justin robertson, john digweed and pete heller (with terry farley), as well as people who are now, eh, well let’s just say they wouldn’t be cup of tea (ahem judge jules and paul oakenfold [though the first disc of oakey’s new york gu mix is still pretty special]).
and there was all this talk of a very special coldcut mix. around this time they released a new jdj mix from a guy called nicolas matar, and a couple more in the months that followed, including one from some guy called touché. i’m sure you’ve heard of him. after that they even rereleased the fabled coldcut mix. at the time the original release had been going for something like £70 on ebay. they put it out again so you could pick it up for a more reasonable price. this is when i first heard it. a guy in school lent me a burned copy, and i listened to it one day on the bus into school. i remember i was late that morning, and i can still remember where i was when i heard a lot of the tracks on that bus journey (by dj). being young and foolish, its impact didn’t hit me on first listen. for my 18th birthday the following january i insisted on buying a load of cds i’d had my eyes on for some time, but just didn’t have the money for. i listened to it as i got ready for my big birthday celebration, and the sound of junior reid’s voice flowed back to my mind, as if i’d been listening to him earlier that day.
as i told people over the years, it kicks off with some jungle and drum’n’bass, then shifts down to some house from the likes of plastikman, jedi knights and masters at work. then they show us some hip-hop coldcut style, before it all starts to go a bit wild with jello biafra and tim ‘love’ lee, before throwing the world’s biggest curveball in the shape of the doctor who theme. it’s riddled with vocals samples from films and lord knows where, even making room for the intro to ed wood’s plan 9 from outer space, and at the very end, after dj food‘s the dusk, they throw in his bizarre yet endearing robotic, computerised sing-song that heralds the end of the mix, the disc, the experience, before fading into the crackling vinyl loop of infinity. the charmingly eccentric closure almost makes up for the fact that it’s all have to come to and end.
there’s a reason it’s so often cited in the “best ever mix” debates. while some people, listening today, might think the tracks sound a bit dated, you simply can’t argue with the way it’s all put together.
in my youthful innocence, i lent it, and a few other cds actually, to a guy in college, who lost them in a bar somewhere. or not, i don’t know. bereft, i turned to the internet. i’ve never had a credit card, so the ebay option wasn’t there for me. i downloaded it, well, i should say i got my brother to download it for me, in japan of all places. i can’t quite remember why i got him to do it for me when we had broadband back home. anyway. that was in january 2005. on i plodded, for years, with my grubby, dirty download, until finally, last november, i picked up a second-hand copy (of the re-release, mind) for a reasonable price in manchester’s vinyl exchange. it probably would have been nice to own it, but i couldn’t bring myself to pay the extra tenner for the original edition.
so you can see why i’d be annoyed that ninja tune were just GIVING it away.
then i read on.
This version was done for the re-issue in 2002. It grew out of the original, but was re-balanced and re-jigged with extra content, and in fact has different tracks in if you listen very closely. I’d call it a reinterpretation of the first. We’re happy to give this away on our twentieth anniversary, as it was an important mix for us that marked a pivotal moment of our career so far. Hopefully there will be many more to come!
so says coldcut’s jon moore. well that’s ok then! listening to the first half, you really can tell the difference in the sound effects they’ve used, as well as a couple of slightly finessed mixes. the tracklist and the mix follow below. i could give you the original too, but, well, haven’t you read any of the above?
Philorene – Bola
The Truper – Street Beats Vol 2
Junior Reid – One Blood
Newcleus – Jam On Revenge
2 Player – Extreme Possibilities (Wagon Christ Mix)
Funki Porcini – King Ashabanapal (Dillinger Mix)
Jedi Knights – Noddy Holder
Plasticman – Fuk
Coldcut – Mo Beats
Bedouin Ascent – Manganese In Deep Violet
Bob Holroyd – African Drug
Leftfield – Original Jam
PART 2 — Coldcut – JDJ special
Ini Kamoze – Here Comes The Hot Stepper
Coldcut – Beats And Pieces
Coldcut – Greedy Beat
Coldcut – Music Maker
Coldcut – Find A Way (acapella)
Mantronix – King Of The Beats
Gescom – Mag
Masters At Work – Blood Vibes
Raphael Corderdos – Trumpet Riff
Luke Slater’s 7th Plain – Grace
Joanna Law – First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Harold Budd – Balthus Bemused By Colour
Hookian Minds – Freshmess (Bandulu Mix)
Jello Biafra – Message From Our Sponser
Pressure Drop – Unify
Love Lee – Again Son
Red Snapper – Hot Flush
Ron Granier – Theme From Doctor Who
Moody Boys – Free
Coldcut – People Hold On
ok, since i’m feeling generous.