Ninja Tune Label Origins

As 20th anniversary looms
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Ninja Tune have looked back on their early years, discussing the origins of one of Britain's most respected imprints.

Formed by DJ duo Coldcut, Ninja Tune have enjoyed an admirable strike rate. Bringing the world The Bug, Bonobo, Roots Manuva, Speech Debelle and more the imprint has carved out its own path for two decades.

Turning twenty years old this year, Ninja Tune is set to celebrate with a number of special events. Commissioning a new book and lavish box set, the label has brought together some of its most epochal releases.

Looking back on their origins, Coldcut have revealed that the inspiration for Ninja Tune came from a late night chat while on tour in Japan.

"It was our first Japanese tour," Jonathan More told The Guardian. "We were supporting Beats International: Norman Cook and Lindy Layton. Matt and I got into ninjas while we were there, watching old black-and-white TV programmes in hotel rooms, sound turned down."

"These ninjas were theatrical- smoke and mirrors, popping up in different places, entertaining people with their skills and being very stealthy. We started talking about how they were kind of like us. We were very unhappy with the (record label) situation we'd found ourselves in and we thought, 'When we get back to the UK we'll start a new label.' We wanted a fresh start."

Initially making a name for itself with the DJ Food compilations, Ninja Tune became synonymous with trip hop and instrumental hip hop. Later moving into down tempo territory the label has turned 20 with a roster which reeks of eclecticism.

Meanwhile, ClashMusic has teamed up with Ninja Tune to offer a free download bundle. Containing five tracks, it can work as a special introduction or a quick recap for more devoted fans.

Toddla T - Skysurfing (Ross Orton Mix)
Thavius Beck - Go
Amon Tobin - Shut Down
Bonobo - Wonder When
Grasscut - The Door In The Wall

Click here to download the Ninja Tune bundle!

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