Ninja Tune is an independent record label based in London, England, with satellite offices in Los Angeles and Montreal. The label was created in 1990 by the duo known as Coldcut – pioneers of the emergent hip-hop/ electro scene in the eighties, and “the first Brit artists to really get hip-hop’s class-cutup aesthetic,” (SPIN.) Inspired by a visit to Japan, Matt Black & Jonathon More founded Ninja Tune to provide themselves with full artistic freedom, and to sign the artists and records that excited them.
The label’s first releases were quickly heralded by both the music press and switched on aficionados. Coldcut themselves produced the seminal, four-volume 'DJ Food - Jazz Brakes.’ Comprised of instrumental hip-hop cuts, the releases gave birth to the genre called 'trip-hop', and became indispensable tools for DJ's. Ninja Tune’s output – eclectic, but united by a common, maverick spirit – and its playful, trademark sloganeering, soon made the imprint something close to notorious.
Over the last 28 years, the visionary label has blossomed to become consistently acclaimed and “reliably excellent” (Time Out,) keeping a widespread focus on signing a diverse range of uncompromising artists. It has encouraged interactive technology, embraced the audio-visual world, created its own publishing company, Just Isn’t Music, and made innovative use of software.
Ninja Tune and its associated labels have since released music from myriad artists, including The Cinematic Orchestra, Amon Tobin, Bonobo, Wiley, Mr Scruff, Roots Manuva, Young Fathers, Fink, Run the Jewels, Diplo, Kid Koala, The Bug, Machinedrum, and Kelis. Ninja works alongside other record labels, including Big Dada, Brainfeeder (Flying Lotus' label,) Counter and Werkdiscs (Actress' label). Over the course of quarter of a century, Ninja Tune has firmly established itself as one of the best independent labels in the UK.