The vague hip-hop subgenre of "turntablism" has received its fair share of troubles. For a start, there's a lot of people that will tell you DJs aren't really musicians. Most hip-hop heads sleep on it for the most part (myself included) and talented guys like the Invisibl Skratch Piklz or the 1200 Hobos don't get the recognition they deserve. And to be honest, a lot of people just plain don't like it.
While the scratch addicts among you will appreciate Canadian DJ Kid Koala's debut full-length 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome,' his approach is unlikely to convert anyone.
The album vaguely plays around with the concept of the nufons (that would be 'no fun' backwards) at Club Nufonia, led by a guy called Negatron who has a big N on his shirt. While the links to this are tenuous at best (I got that from a comic book which was packaged with it), it shows Koala's approach to the music. His compositions stand out as different from most of the DJing crowd however, as the dense sounds of most turntablism albums are replaced with sparse samples, scratches, and the odd melody. A good example of this is the funky 'Roboshuffle,' which uses surprisingly little in the way of sounds but goes a long way with it. Plenty of vocal samples are also used on here, as shown on the more musical 'Fender Bender.
What's best about 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome' is that small pieces end up being a much greater whole. The scratches, the breaks and the words don't seem like much when written about, but coming together as something like 'Music for Morning People' they provide a compelling dose of turntablism. Koala tosses together many styles on here, but no matter how odd these cuts sound at first they soon grow on you, whether it be the fiercely cut-up convo of 'Nerdball' or the weird sounds of 'Like Irregular Chickens.'
Of course, you can predict the downside. I expect about 90% of people who come to Tha-Real won't like this record. To get the most from here, you'll need an open mind, a good sense of humour, and a sense of perseverance. Even then, its probable you still won't like it. But, to quote one of the samples from 'A Night At The Nufonia,' "That of course is what he deserved, for pretending to be a musician when he was only a butcher." For every 9 out of 10 people who hate 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome,' there'll be the one guy like me who really digs it. Good luck for anyone who decides to take a shot.