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Bonus Bait

Mr. Scruff

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Album Review

Andy Carthy's Mr. Scruff project is that rare beast in trip-hop and breakbeat circles — an act who's enjoyed plenty of commercial success (relatively speaking), but still hasn't worn out his welcome. Ninja Tuna comes after a long break in production records, although Carthy kept his name current with great mix albums and popular commercials for Lincoln and Volvo. The album begins normally enough for a trip-hop record, with several different genre exercises and some intriguing guest features (Alice Russell, Quantic, Roots Manuva) — nothing that hasn't been seen from a dozen different breakbeat producers of the '90s or 2000s. But Scruff has a different endpoint in mind, and Ninja Tuna gradually evolves into a pleasant grind of house and funk that relaxes the affair and makes for a surprisingly subtle listen (especially compared to the dynamic first half of the record). Late in the program, "Give Up to Get" reveals itself as the highlight, a mellow slice of jazz-house that would be welcomed by any Theo Parrish fan looking for more in the after-hours funk vein.


Born: 10 February 1972 in Stockport, Cheshire, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Mr. Scruff's breakbeat noodlings were some of the more playful and summery of the British trip-hop lot. Ultra-clean production and an economic approach to sampling distinguished his music from spliff-tokers and bombasts alike. The authorial nickname of Manchester native Andy Carthy (his neatly trimmed beard being the source), Mr. Scruff attracted the buzz of DJs and critics alike with the 1995 Rob's Records release "Sea Mammal." A semi-veiled tribute to Boogie Down Productions' seminal "My Philosophy,"...
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Bonus Bait, Mr. Scruff
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