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Ninja Tune artist King Cannibal wasn’t always as beastly as you’d think. Dylan Richards a.k.a. “Ninja’s first (and only?) hard man” has a snaked history, rubbing shoulders with personal heroes and all of it preemptively flagged for greatness by numerous taste-makers publications, based on his trilogy of under-the-counter mix CDs recorded under this former name – ‘ZILLA’
Comprised of hundreds of tracks, these hand-sprayed CDs sold out in days and earned high praise on a global scale, so much so that Warp Records took note and invited ‘ZILLA’ along with DJ partner Buddy Peace to compile a retrospective of the label. Released late September 2004 as part of the ‘WARP VISION The Videos’ DVD, the mix entitled ‘Watch And Repeat Play’ was a startlingly original tour-dE Force, over 70 minutes the two DJs reworking and rewiring the label’s back catalogue, twisting the already twisted into sonic maelstrom.
Richards began exploring solo production, perfecting an industrial take on dancehall, dubstep & drum n bass with a number of well-received, increasingly darker remixes. The Eureka moment, ‘Aragami Style’, came to be in 2006, and with it a new alias was born. “Whilst ‘ZILLA’ sleeps at the bottom of the Pacific KING CANNIBAL IS KING OF THE DANCEHALL”.
Falling in to the hands of the legendary Amon Tobin, ‘Aragami Style’ took pride of place as the secret weapon King Cannibal’s sets, destroying dancefloors for years whilst Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs championed the track giving it heavy rotation and inviting King Cannibal to prepare for her Experimental show an hour-long soundclash with proto-dubstep producer Scorn.
Having now released his debut album ‘Let The Night Roar’ on Ninja Tune, it seems these long lists of endorsements are no fluke. Piecing together shards of a wide array of influences, utterly uncompromising industrial sounds and razor-edged rhythms shifted shape from dancehall & drum n bass to drone & dubstep in what Richards calls his school of ‘brutal deluxe’ production, falling somewhere between the sonic shadows of Amon Tobin and aggressive swagger of The Bug, both fellow Ninjas.
With the first half of 2010 seeing his debut North American tour alongside appearances at The Royal Albert Hall, The Apple Store London for Ableton, sound design & gaming work for numerous companies (including Microsoft), radio appearances, mixing duties for DJ Food, and numerous remixes completed whilst album promotional activites still raged on, the second half of the year will see King Cannibal not only heavily involved in the Ninja XX 20 year release, and his first mix cd for the label but also trying to catch breath and prepare to walk the long dark tunnel to the sequel
Be afraid…. be very afraid……