art, music, tech and resistance
Most people come into music, do the same thing for a few years, slowly sink back into obscurity and spend the rest of their life collecting publishing royalties and re-forming for tribute tours. Their biographies can afford to be quite short – most of us aren’t that interested in golf or angling. The problem with Coldcut is that, despite their veteran status, they act like two unruly children who just won’t sit still. Which is why even a brief trawl through their various activities looks like a large chapter of a big book.
In 1986, computer programmer Matt Black and ex-art teacher Jonathan More were part-time DJs on the rare groove scene. More also DJed on pirate radio, hosting the Meltdown Show on Kiss FM and worked at the Reckless Records store on Berwick Street, London where Black visited as a customer. The first collaboration between the two artists was ‘Say Kids What Time Is It?’ on a white label in January 1987, which mixed Jungle Book’s “King of the Swingers” with the break from James Brown’s “Funky Drummer.”
The innovation of “Say Kids…” caused More and Black to be heralded by SPIN as “the first Brit artists to really get hip-hop’s class-cutup aesthetic”. It’s regarded as the UK’s first breaks record, the first UK record to be built entirely of samples and “the final link in the chain connecting European collage-experiment with the dance-remix-scratch edit”. This was later sampled in “Pump Up the Volume” by MARRS, a single that reached #1 in the UK in October 1987.
Their long term relationship with Greenpeace continued with DJ sets for the organization at Glastonbury for the last two years. In the same vein, ‘Everything is Under Control’ was used for ‘The Revolution with be Televised,’ the BBS activist comedy show broadcast in 2013. Matt Black has found a natural calling giving talks and lectures at events and teaching establishments, his long-standing political activism finding itself in renewed demand in turbulent times.
And coming soon will be a brand new studio album, which will see Coldcut back in the vanguard of electronic music, and collaborating with some of the best musical mavericks from around the world – a group they’ve long been counted amongst.