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12 Bit Blues

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 18, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

A really raw, immediate and strangely beautiful album, much like the music it draws on for its inspiration. In attempting to outplay and out think the technology he is working with, he revives the unworldly oddness of blues music before it became a staple of beer adverts and the jam fantasies of middle aged marketing executives. This is the music, ripped and scratched and distressed until all those souls sold down the crossroads rise up and send shivers down your spine. It's that real and, yes, that made up.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 18, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warp Records
  • ASIN: B008IEDX3Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,139 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Chapin on September 28, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Let's just say I was born BEFORE the Brittish invasion, and my record (and CD) collection contains very few recordings made after 1965... I'm all jazz and blues. And I sure as heck don't own any rap or hip hop, no "house", nothing like that. Plus I play saxes, flutes, and clarinet professionally; I'm all about natural sound in the air, and not about electronics.
That said, I have to say this record by Kid Koala really is great... I can recognize a lot of the samples, but there are a lot of sounds I can't place. The way he put everything together is so hip.
New wine, old vines, baby.
To all my old guy friends: stretch a bit and check this out -- you'll definitely dig it!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The title "12 bit Blues" gives you a good hint of what you're going to get here. Kid Koala uses the iconic E-mu SP-1200 sampler to hack, slash, and glue back together an old-school blues-based masterpiece. This is particularly impressive considering the powerful sequencing software that modern music makers have at their disposal. This modern reinterpretation of very vintage blues tracks gives 12 bit Blues an eerie quality. Using the E-mu, Koala mixes up a series of 10 seconds (max, due to the old hardware) samples with distinct DJ wobbles, scratches, and quick rewinds. The music quality is excellant, and gives you the warm feel of old vinyl. Most of the tracks are down-tempo, and have just a hint of noise. With the heavy reliance that most modern DJs and electronic musicians have on advanced computing technology, 12 bit Blues provides you with a dream-like quality and a great listen.

Koala also demonstrates a bit of his playful side with this release. If you examine the sample image of the cover provided by Amazon you see a number of references to the included hand-powered cardboard turntable. Yes, this adorable, quirky turntable is actually included as a bonus, with a "15 blues bits flexi disc battle record" that contains the "Slinky" track from the film Looper. As long as you provide your own pin or needle, this acts as a tiny hand-powered gramophone. For music lovers, this gives you a great conversation starter. Of course, I can't bring myself to punch out the pieces to create the gramophone, but videos provided online by Koala demonstrate that it actually works.

In 12 bit Blues, Koala plays with everything from a blues band complete with vocals to an interesting experiment with solo blues guitar on 9 Bit Blues. If you're not familiar with Koala, I would highly recommend this record as a starting place. If you are a fan of vintage DJ's or of classic blues, you will not be disappointed.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Let me just open by admitting, there is no way I would have purchased this if it didn't have the working manual phonograph included in the packaging. The album is alright if you like electronic blues music, but the fact that someone put some effort into offering some extra value with the packaging (without raising the price dramatically, I might add), is great.

Buy it if you're a Kid Koala fan and/or love the idea of the flat-pack phonograph

Skip it if you just want the music and would toss the packaging anyway, I'm sure it's cheaper to just grab it digitally
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
I have been listening to the digital album since it came out and I just received the vinyl LP today. After listening to this album again (for the twentieth time) I will still have to say that it's fantastic. A high quality, cohesive LP from a scratcher is hard to find. Though he is having fun and jamming out on some tracks, he never loses focus and keeps everything nice and tight. I also love the instructions for how to make my own cardboard record player.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm really into trip-hop, downtempo, electronica, lately...especially like Wax Tailor, DJ Krush, Chinese Man, DJ Vadim... I especially like when old jazz/blues classics are sampled. I'm ALWAYS looking for new stuff...

When I came across this and read the description... it sounded too good to be true. I got it and started listening, and braced myself for the letdown...instead, I was absolutely blown away....it surpassed my expectations in every way. Catch, hooky, mesmerizing...and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the choice of blues samples.

This really showcases the artform/creativity of this genre/these artists. The original music shines through... I would even argue that it's enhanced by the recontextualization... Many accuse samplers of disrespecting original material. When I listen to this, I hear it being respected and lovingly placed in a new light. Ironically, I like the original stuff so much, I will now make it my mission to find out who these artists are and buy their original material... EVERYBODY Wins!

Like the other reviewer...I'm a relatively old guy (48)....and I think that if you took an old school blues aficionado who was open minded...and played this...they would get it...Just like the other reviewer.

To me, this is shaping up to be a classic... right up there with DJ Shadow's Endtroducing.

Update: For God's Sake, Someone please tell me who the blues artists are on this album...especially 2 bit blues... I'm kinda disappointed that I'm unable to locate the credits anywhere (I HOPE this is just an oversight!). I need to buy some of this original material!
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