Ninja Tune

Ninja Tune

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Ninja Tune
Founded 1990
Founder(s) Matt Black
Jonathan More
Genre(s) Various
Country of origin United Kingdom
Location London
Official Website

Ninja Tune is a British independent record label started by DJs Matt Black and Jonathan More, better known as Coldcut[1] and managed by Peter Quicke. The label was one of the first in Britain to consistently embrace and release artists that create and perform new forms of electronic dance music since the 1990s, notably hip hop and breakbeat. The label now releases music of various genres and distributes other record labels, including Big Dada, Brainfeeder, Motion Audio and Counter Records. The label is also one of the radio stations in the video game Sleeping Dogs.


Inspired by a visit to Japan, Black & More (Coldcut) primarily created Ninja Tune in 1990 to act as a vehicle by which they could release music of a more underground nature, free from the restraints placed on artists by major labels (the same restraints that were put on them via their brief stints with Arista and Big Life).

In 1994, Matt Black's close friend Mixmaster Morris introduced Matt to Openmind - a DJ & design collective in Camberwell - at the Telepathic Fish chill-out club they were running. Openmind included Kevin Foakes aka Strictly Kev of DJ Food. After submitting a re-styled company logo he was employed by Ninja Tune in the capacity of overall design consultant.[2]

Solid Steel

Pre-dating Ninja Tune is the radio show Solid Steel, which Coldcut set up in 1988. What initially began as a radio show on then pirate Kiss FM went on to become a weekly radio podcast and also the name of live nightclub events showcasing the talents of a number of Ninja Tune artists. Solid Steel is also the name of a series of DJ mix CDs from the label.

Ninja Tune's 20th anniversary

In 2010, Ninja Tune celebrated 20 years of releasing music. A book entitled Ninja Tune: 20 Years of Beats and Pieces was released on 12 August 2010, and an exhibition was held at Black Dog Publishing's Black Dog Space in London showcasing artwork, design and photography from the label's 20 year history. A compilation album was released on 20 September in two formats - a regular version consisting of two 2-disc volumes, and a limited edition (of 3,500 copies), containing 6 CDs, 6 7" vinyl singles, a hardback copy of the book, a poster and additional items.

Current roster (Ninja Tune and Big Dada)

  • Ammoncontact
  • Amon Tobin
  • Andreya Triana
  • Ape School
  • Bang On! (Big Dada)
  • Blockhead
  • Bonobo
  • The Bug
  • The Cinematic Orchestra
  • Coldcut
  • Cougar
  • Daedelus
  • The Death Set
  • Deco Child
  • DELS (Big Dada)
  • DJ Food
  • DJ Kentaro
  • DJ Vadim
  • Dobie (Big Dada)
  • Dorian Concept
  • Elan Tamara (Big Dada)
  • Emika
  • Eskmo
  • FaltyDL
  • Fink
  • Floating Points
  • Funki Porcini
  • Grasscut
  • Grey Reverend
  • The Heavy
  • The Herbaliser
  • Hexstatic
  • Hot Sugar
  • Igor Boxx
  • Infesticons
  • Infinite Livez (Big Dada)
  • Illum Sphere
  • The Invisible
  • Jaga Jazzist
  • Jammer (Big Dada)
  • Jesse Boykins III & Melo-X
  • Jono McCleery
  • Juice Aleem
  • Kid Koala
  • King Cannibal
  • King Geedorah (Big Dada)
  • Loka
  • The Long Lost
  • Lorn
  • Lou Rhodes
  • Max And Harvey
  • Mr. Scruff
  • Neotropic
  • Offshore (Big Dada)
  • Paris Suit Yourself (Big Dada)
  • Plug
  • Poirier
  • Pop Levi
  • The Qemists
  • Raffertie
  • Roots Manuva (Big Dada)
  • Shuttle
  • Skalpel
  • Slugabed
  • Speech Debelle (Big Dada)
  • Spokes
  • Starkey
  • Stateless
  • Sticky (Big Dada)
  • Thunderheist
  • Toddla T
  • Two Fingers (Big Dada)
  • Visions (Big Dada)
  • Wagon Christ
  • Wiley (Big Dada)
  • Yppah
  • Zero dB
  • 9 Lazy 9


Full list of Ninja Tune Artists

Big Dada

Hip Hop label Big Dada was set up by journalist and writer Will Ashon in 1997. Artists with releases on this label include Roots Manuva, cLOUDDEAD, Juice Aleem, DELS, Wiley, Speech Debelle and Spank Rock.


See main article on Big Dada.

Counter Records

In 2006, Counter Records was set up to release the music by artists following a more rock music vein. The label's first release was (Super Numeri member) Pop Levi's single "Blue Honey" in September 2006, and was followed by Pop Levi's debut album The Return To Form Black Magick Party in February 2007. Subsequent artists to have releases on the label include Ape School, Cougar, cross-genre punk band The Death Set and The Heavy.


  • Ape School
  • Cougar
  • The Death Set
  • The Heavy
  • John Matthias
  • Jono McCleery
  • Pop Levi
  • Spokes

Motion Audio


  • Grey Reverend
  • Lou Rhodes


Main article: Brainfeeder

Ninja Tuna

In 2008 Mr. Scruff launched his own new imprint, Ninja Tuna. The first release was Donkey Ride, a collaboration with Quantic, released in May 2008. This was followed by his 4th studio album, also entitled Ninja Tuna, and several further 12" singles to date.


Ninja Tune's first sister imprint was Ntone, a label that initially specialised in experimental music. The label released records from 1994 to 2001. Artists on the roster included Animals on Wheels, Cabbageboy, Hexstatic and Neotropic.


  • 2 Player
  • Cabbageboy
  • Drome
  • Hex
  • Journeyman
  • Juryman
  • Neotropic
  • Omnium
  • Override
  • Purr
  • Real Life
  • Rhys Chatham & Jonathan Kane
  • Rhys Chatham & Martin Wheeler
  • Transcend

Ninja Tune compilations

  • The Original Sampler (July 1993, BS001)
  • Ninja Cuts Funkjazztical Tricknology (March 1995, ZENCD15)
  • Ninja Cuts Flexistentialism (24 March 1996, ZENCD22)
  • ColdKrushCuts - Mixed by Coldcut / DJ Food & DJ Krush (February 1997, ZENCD26)
  • Ninja Cuts Funkungfusion (28 April 1998, ZENCD33)
  • Zentonedada (sampler from Ninja Tune, Ntone and Big Dada) (1999, ZENTONEDADA 001)
  • Xen Cuts / Xen Cuts Missed Flipped and Skipped (September 2000, ZENCD49, ZENCD49X, ZEN49)
A three-disc version of Xen Cuts was also released (ZENCD 049X) which included Xen Cuts Missed Flipped and Skipped.
  • Solesides Greatest Bumps (31 October 2000)
  • Urban Renewal Program (August 2002, ZENCD72)
  • Zentertainment 2002 (August 2002, ZEN2002)
  • ZENtvDVD - Video Retrospective (2003, DVD containing 2 hours of Ninja Tune videos, ZENDV85)
  • ZEN CD - A Ninja Tune Retrospective (January 2004, ZENCD85)
  • ZEN RMX - A Retrospective of Ninja Tune Remixes (January 2004, ZENCD85R)
  • Zentertainment 2004 (March 2004, ZEN2004)
  • Zentertainment 2006 (July 2006, ZENCD2006)
  • You Don't Know: Ninja Cuts (March 2008)
  • Ninja Tune XX Vols 1 & 2 (September 2010)

Former employees

  • Alastair Nicholson - Head of Legal Affairs
  • J. Swinscoe - Head of Export Sales


  1. IMO Records "Ninja Tune Biography"], IMO Records, Retrieved on 12 December 2011.
  2. Xen Cuts booklet
  3. Ninja Tune - Artists. Retrieved on 15 July 2011.

External links

  • Official site
  • Tune Ninja Tune at Discogs
  • Ninja Obsession
  • Ping Pong Promotion agency of Ninja Tune in France.
  • Ninja Tune Feature in Rip It Up Magazine
  • Mafiagato's Ninja Obsession
  • The Complete Digital Discography
  • Discography at
  • Discography & Review at (Fr)
  • Reviews by BBC
  • Funki Porcini Interview at Freedom to Create 2010 (Phegon Blog)

See also

  • List of record labels
  • List of electronic music record labels
  • List of independent UK record labels
This page was last modified 13.12.2012 11:52:38

This article uses material from the article Ninja Tune from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.