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Kid Koala 

Some of My Best Friends Are DJs (Ninja Tune)

Montreal-based Kid Koala is a world-class DJ, a member of the jazz-jam-fusion band Bullfrog, and the author of a darkly cryptic graphic novel, Nufonia Must Fall, a story of the illicit love between a woman and a robot that includes a downtempo soundtrack for piano and turntables. Some of My Best Friends Are DJs continues the Nufonia saga, as the characters dominate the album's artwork, a few songs, and an assembly-required portable chess set.

Friends is Koala's second full-length album, but fans of 2000's Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are in for a surprise. This album is less cluttered and more musical, and it's not just turntable dexterity and symphonies of samples and sound effects. The tunes cover ragtime, blues, jazz, and more. "Vacation Island" features an island melody played on ukulele and steel guitar, to which Koala patiently adds the lush tones of each individual instrument in a string quartet. A piano version of Earth, Wind & Fire's "Spinning Wheel" plays prominently in "Elevator Hopper," but by far the most impressive track is the opener, "Basin Street Blues," a deconstruction and reinterpreted version of Spencer Davis's Dixieland 1928 funeral march. At less than 35 minutes, this album is short by most standards, but Koala's ingenuity makes the brevity forgivable.

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