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Comin' up shortly, perhaps... Perhaps he's ready... Are you ready yet, Mr. Scruff?

Mr. Scruff (that's Andy Carthy to his parents) is the British master of acid jazz and funky trip hop. By using a wide variety of samples, over-the-top beats and funked up vocals, he creates tunes that are a strange combination of booty shakin' fun and an explosion in a Monty Python sketch factory.

Perhaps no other national sense of humour but that of Britain could have created a DJ who could call an album Trouser Jazz and be perfectly serious.

 

"Do you like it? Does it make you go wibbly? Does it frimble?"

The lovable lad started making music that other people would laugh at way back in 1983. By the time he was a grown up in 1994, he acquired some decks and realised that techno wasn't really all that bad, he started DJing in and around Manchester.

After a few (largely inconsequential) releases on Robs Records and Pleasure, he eventually hit the big time with "Chicken in a Box" and hasn't looked back since. He's released and remixed for a whole host of labels, including Warp, Sirkus, Disorient, Blood and Fire, Cup Of Tea and Ninja Tune, to whom he is currently signed.

 

"You certainly look like a fish! Well I certainly don't feel like a fish!"

The scruffy one lists his musical influences as: blues, 2 tone, ska, electro, hip hop, soul, house, funk, disco, jazz, reggae, film soundtracks, african, latin, children's records and somewhat bizarrely, "twigs". So you'll understand me when I say any one of his albums is a varied mix of styles and feelings, but with a steady undercurrent of lazy beats and a happy, bouncy sense of humour holding it together.

This weird, twisted humor is best evident on his children's TV sample laden tracks like "Shanty Town" and "Fish". Perhaps living by the sea has instilled a love of marine life into our plucky DJ. If so, this love of the sea practically oozes out of your speakers during "Shanty Town", as a cheery children's TV presenter enthuses

I can just see the head of the whale, emerging out of the water!

as what can only be described as a sea shanty on acid plays in the background. At best it's both hilarious and amazing music to chill out to, and at worst it makes you hanker for fish and chips.

 

"I expect you want to know about frog men? Yeah! Well, they live on fish."

Mr. Scruff has released a whole cornucopia of funky tracks and surreal antics on vinyl and CD. Don your wet suit and head down to your local record shop and see if you can see:

 

You better keep moving, boy, you better keep movin', or you be left behind!

If you live in Manchester or the North West of England in general, you can listen to Mr. Scruff and Treva Whateva as they host their own radio show, "Hot Pot", on Key 103. It's on a Friday night at 1am (GMT).

But fear not, you foreign scruff lovers, for you too can listen, by pointing your internet radio gadgets at www.key103.com.

 

bariau says: Don't forget that Mr. Scruff is also resident at The Music Box on Oxford Road in Manchester. He plays there about once a month on a Saturday. Yay for Mr. Scruff!

spiregrain says: there is a band called Watercress that were active in 1996 and getting into trip-hop/jazzy stuff. So I wondered if they were involved in some way. I'm none the wiser. Anyone?

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