Influential Labels in Electronic Music: Ninja Tune

Ninja Tune

Ninja Tune was founded in 1990 by pioneers Matt Black and Jonathan More AKA Coldcut. Having blown up the airwaves with the 1987 remix of Eric B and Rakim’s ‘Paid In Full’, the label was established to release their own productions alongside like-minded acts they were coming across that the majors eschewed. Since its inception, it has become a leading independent label best known for putting broken beat and British leftfield electronic music on the map, together with kickstarting the careers of DJ Food, Mr Scruff, and Amon Tobin to name a few.

Ninja Tune have since expanded their roster with the addition of a host of contemporary artists such as Actress, Floating Points and Bonobo, and continue to source and release plenty of boundary-pushing emerging talent; few independent labels in the UK could claim to have worked with such a broad spectrum of artists. Speak to any recording artist in electronic music right now, and they will agree that one dream label to release on is Ninja Tune.

Ninja Tune, as befitting its founders, has its roots simultaneously in electronic music, hip hop, and of course, sampling. But their desire to throw in curveball releases here and there is what has really set the label apart. Artists you might not expect to find on a dance music label have a habit of cropping up in between the big hitters and long-time legacy artists. Nestled amongst acts like Bonobo and The Cinematic Orchestra you might find the ethereal loops from Juliana Barwick or raw post-punk energy from London’s ‘New Weird Britain’ paradigm-shifters Black Country, New Road.

Spanning a multitude of sub-labels helps keep this all feeling coherent. With Big Dada, Brainfeeder, Werkdiscs, Counter and Technicolour, there’s a sense of freedom that allows each label to explore its own territory while maintaining the same core values of a Ninja Tune release.

(via Bleep)

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