Ooh, I do like a good Ninja Tune.
And boy, is this a good Ninja Tune.
In my opinion, Ninja Tunes Records from London are one of the best electro/breakbeat/jazz/hip-hop/trip hop/downbeat labels in existence.
(They've been around seventeen years now! Damn, that makes me feel old.)
And The Herbaliser has always been one of the best acts on their roster.
Jake Wherry & Ollie Teeba (The Herbaliser) soon joined up with Matt Black & Jonathan Moore (Coldcut), the instigators of the label, and soon became one of Ninja's most dynamic acts.
Collaborating with the likes of Roots Manuva, Blade, Dream Warriors, DJ Food and What? What? (aka: Jean Grae, the New York rapper, who appears as guest vocalist on this little gem; bringing some East-Coast groove to The Herbaliser's dark trip hop beats), The Herbaliser soon gained a reputation of excellence, and their album Blow Your Headphones from 1997, was innovative in ways that would change the way trip hop and British hip hop music would sound in the future; by bringing a great deal of downbeat and jazz vibes to their sound.
This e.p. comes from the same period as that release, but the remixes of the track 'The Blend' are quite superb.
Jean Grae's lyrics and delivery are subtle enough to sit nicely within The Herbaliser's downbeat sound.
And as for the extra track: 'Mrs Chombee Takes The Plunge': wow, what a tune!
Trip hop never sounded so good. Dark and ever so slightly menacing, the track builds and builds creating the most curious of ambient moods.
Chill, it ain't; but it is very, very cool.
Original Ninja Press Release:
'Mr Tall and Mr Small creep out of 'nam and jump up behind you to hit you with more of those Herbalised Akai dinners. Having travelled across Europe, carpet bagging their Remedies, they came back to southwest London. Hanging up their trainers and fighting the playstation for the dark winter months, they called the TrainTrax their home. Now the dashing duo, with international entourage, don their hoodies and once again serve up a musical smoothie. The cinematic overtures, laced with beats, scratches and a blend of jazz create a herbal brew to spin any openmind. Jetpacking it across the Atlantic, What? What? shows you how it's done and wraps up the 212 the 718 & the 516 flavour.
The Blend blended by Peanut Butter Wolf, Jonny Cuba and The Herbaliser. Mr Chombee chomped by DJ Food. '
The Herbaliser - The Blend (1997)
Mrs Chombee Takes the Plunge
Peanut Butter Blend
MPEG-4 files, with CD artwork.
Get it here