Starting with the cut up mayhem of Beats and Pieces, Coldcut were early innovators of the UK electronic music scene. Taking their cue from Double Dee & Steinski, Beats and Pieces was a workout including sources as diverse as Vivaldi, Tom Baker, James Brown & Led Zeppelin.
A commission shortly afterwards led to a remix that is possibly their best known work, the Seven Minutes of Madness remix of Eric B & Rakim’s Paid in Full. Reputedly unappreciated by Eric B & Rakim due to a lack of proper street respect in the sound or somesuch, it was a sample laden masterpiece that nevertheless it went on to sell a load in the UK and featured on the Gang movie, Colors, in 1988 further cementing the cred that Eric B & Rakim didn’t see.
Around this time Coldcut had hooked up with Yazz & the Plastic Population for Doctorin’ The House, a puntastic title that would eventually inspire the KLF as The Timelords.
Further singles Stop This Crazy Thing and My Telephone followed, heralding an album, What’s That Noise? with contributions from Lisa Stansfield, Junior Reid, Mark E. Smith among others and including their commision for the theme from Reportage, part of the at the time innovative Network 7 news and current affairs programming headed by Magenta De Vine. At this time many remix commissions seemed to appear for bands such as INXS, with some more notable than others.
One year later, a more dancefloor orientated album “Some Like It Cold” would follow with a lead track featuring Queen Latifah on vocal duties, but it didn’t seem to grab the public’s attention the same way and Coldcut were in the background for a while, surfacing in 1992 for the Coldcut vs The Orb Kiss FM special in the virgin hours of the new year.
In 1993, Coldcut reappeared on BMG/Arista, with a more serious persona and the intent to create a more mature sound, covering the Jazz standard Autumn Leaves among other more soulful tracks such as Dreamer on the album Philosophy. A Label showcase for Ninja Tunes by way of a DJ mix for DJ Magazine called the The Morning After appeared in 1994, and in 1995 Coldcut released their acclaimed mixset, Seventy Minutes of Madness for the Journey By DJ series.
In 1996 the Coldcut name saw a return to their previous recording form (IMO) with Atomic Moog 2000/Boot The System.
After building on a significant number of releases for their NinjaTunes label, Coldcut went on to record a new album, Let Us Play and releasing an overhaul of their earlier Bits & Pieces at the same time with a diverse set of remixes.
Let Us Play was quite an unusual album at the time, including as it does a second disc full of toys and games with Coldcut branding. A remix set, Let Us Replay followed with remixes by such artists as Shut Up & Dance and Cornelius as well as a demo of the fascinating VJamm software.
Presumably touring and working from 2001 onwards(although two points of note for me were the Doctor Whooligan remix that never saw light and a contribution to the Rez soundtrack) last year saw the release of Sound Mirrors with contributions from people such as Jon Spencer, Spank Rock and Robert Owens.