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Boomkat Product Review:
Before he became a favourite of Madonna and musician of choice for the BBC's ad department, Mr Scruff (then known as Funky Scruff or Andy Carthy...) was working at Kwik Save and popping out mixtapes decorated with his infamous chap doodles. Having pricked the ears of New Order manager Rob Gretton (Rob's Records), Carthy ended up releasing a series of EP's and 12"s, all of which have since disappeared down the eBay black-hole but are now made available once again thanks to this Ninja Tune collection (originally put out by Pleasure in 1997). Opening with 'Sea Mammal', now well over a decade old, Carthy is laid bare with dubby production and his much documented love of the aquatic breaking water through a sample repeating "the largest sea mammal is a whale". Less whimsical than his later output, 'Sea Mammal' leads into 'Tubby Mechanical Friend' wherein Scruff gets to grips with some glitchy piano and crunchy breaks (surely a blueprint for Melodic) that could almost be a Hebdon production. Into more familiar territory, 'Bass Baby' is rubber-soled breakbeatery that calls on the usual suspects of hip-hop vocal samples and R2D2 scratches whilst his breakthrough track 'Chicken In a Box' still veers a little too close to B.R.A. for my liking. However with extensive liner notes by Carthy and 20% of proceedings going to charity... what you waiting for Willis?!