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Mr. Scruff

Mr. Scruff

Mr. Scruff's breakbeat noodlings have been some of the more playful and summery of the British trip-hop lot, with ultra-clean production and an economic approach to sampling distinguishing 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), which combined the dime-store aesthetic of a Luke Vibert or Howie B. with more tempered, straight-ahead rhythms and subtle funk, soul, and electro references.

The appearance soon after of the Frolic EP on Rob's subsidiary Pleasure — which took the breezier, tea-room quotidian feel of his debut a few Sunday afternoon steps further — turned buzz to blare for Carthy, with remix offers from the likes of DJ Food and Lamb flowing in. 1997 brought an EP (Large Pies) for noted Bristol label Cup of Tea, as well as Scruff's eponymous debut full-length. Keep It Unreal, his debut for Ninja Tune, followed in 1999.

A rabid record collector, Scruff's frequent DJ sets include everything from '60s and '70s soul-jazz and funk, scratchy old reggae and dub 45s, classic hip-hop, schmaltzy vocal pop, and new-school electronica.

by Sean Cooper
All Music Guide

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