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At some point the DJ replaced the guitarist as the supreme pop virtuoso, whose quick-fingered skills served both musical and theatrical functions. Eventually there arose a school of superspinners -- Invisibl Skratch Piklz, DJ Shadow, and the X-Ecutioners chief among them -- with such extraordinary powers of pastiche that no band or rapper could ever keep up with them. But this diminutive Chinese-Canadian (né Eric San) made a splash with a lighthearted approach and a genius for comic samples that obscured tremendous chops on the decks.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, released after well-received singles and guest spots with Coldcut and on Handsome Boy Modeling School (and an opening gig with the Beastie Boys), is a tour de force of the turntable art, though performed with a rare focus and flair that makes it one of the few DJ-only discs that can be listened to and enjoyed by nonspecialists. Kid churns through libraries of bebop and funk sam-ples, though you barely notice the sleight of hand because of the constant streams of hilarious vocal appropriations, from the stuttering Revenge of the Nerds dialogue scratched on "Nerdball" to the Mad magazine–esque bad date scenario that emerges from a quilt of samples in "Barhopper" Parts 1 and 2. After more big guest spots -- Deltron 3030, Gorillaz, opening for Radiohead -- Kid released an album of gorgeous P-Funk–style grooves with his long-running group, Bullfrog. It's a fun and seamless blend of band and DJ -- a little too seamless, actually, as Kid Koala's contributions are invisible on all but a few tracks. In early 2003 Kid released the first of several planned book/CD projects, Nufonia Must Fall, a 300-page cartoon novel about a robot who falls in love with a human girl (he makes her a killer mix, what else?), with a brief accompanying keyboard/turntable soundtrack. Some of My Best Friends continues with the Kid Koala formula of lighthearted comedy and jazz samples. Nothing special there, but the accompanying comic book and short video are adorable vignettes about the DJ lifestyle -- scratching, sampling, digging in the crates like kids playing in sandboxes -- and offer something that is absent from music made entirely of samples and splices: a fun narrative.

Added by careykopp on March 17, 2009