Ninja Tune XX, Vol. 1

Since 1990, the Ninja Tune label has been churning out an amazingly steady and consistent stream of the best in off-kilter hip-hop, dubstep, electro, grime, and other edgy beat-based music. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, it has released what is without doubt one of the most lavish box sets every created: a hardcover box which itself contains three hardcover cases: one containing six CDs of selected tracks both old and new; the second containing six exclusive 7" vinyl singles, plus a poster and a sheet of stickers; and the third containing the hardback edition of Stevie Chick's book Ninja Tune XX, Vol. 2. To sweeten the package even more, each will include a code that can be used to download additional music slated for inclusion in future Ninja Tune releases as well as King Cannibal's mix album The Way of the Ninja (and rumor has it that box purchasers will also receive some goodies in the mail). This super-deluxe box will retail for somewhere north of $200.00 Those whose pockets don't go quite that deep have the option of picking up one or both of two two-disc distillations that also include generous amounts of Ninja Tune niceness both old and new: remixes and exclusive tracks from the likes of Coldcut (Ninja Tune's house band), Roots Manuva, Kid Koala, DJ Food, Daedelus, the Bug (in a vicious remix by Autechre), DJ Vadim (remixed by Gaslamp Killer), and many, many more. The label has made it difficult to write a true review by providing only a tentative version of those four discs in a package that lacks track listings; however, this disc promises the purchaser plenty of skull-shaking bass, mind-bending beat manipulation, and fleet-fingered turntablism, along with a bumper crop of hard-edged rapping. In other words, Ninja Tune fans know exactly what they'll be getting, and it's consistently amazing. ~ Rick Anderson

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