Open main menu

Kish Kash is the third studio album by English electronic music duo Basement Jaxx, released in 20 October 2003 by XL and Astralwerks. After a lengthy tour which caused them exhaustion and homesickness, they settled in their new studio and wanted to develop a new fresh approach with less reliant on grooves and samples and more focused on songwriting.

Kish Kash
Basement Jaxx-Kish Kash.jpg
Studio album by
Released20 October 2003 (2003-10-20)
RecordedMarch 2002 – August 2003
StudioJaxx Studio
(Loughborough Junction, London, England}
Basement Jaxx chronology
Kish Kash
The Singles
Singles from Kish Kash
  1. "Lucky Star"
    Released: 10 November 2003
  2. "Good Luck"
    Released: 5 January 2004
  3. "Plug It In"
    Released: 29 March 2004

It reached number 17 on the UK Albums Chart.[1] It later won the Grammy Award for Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album the first time it was awarded in 2005.[2] The album was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2004.[3] Three singles were released from the album: "Lucky Star", "Good Luck" and "Plug It In".

Background and developmentEdit

Returning from their 2001 world tour to promote Rooty with exhaustion and homesickness, Felix and Simon settled into their new Brixton studio. In the meantime they released the low-profile experimental Junction EP and remixed Missy Elliott, DJ Sneak and Justin Timberlake. The remixes were easy – the tricky bit was deciding where to go next.[4]

On 23 September 2002, they released second extended play Junction, which included four new songs and was named after Loughborough Junction, the place of the duo's original parties.[5]

The recording process took place between March 2002 and August 2003.[6] According to Buxton, the duo undertook the recording of Kish Kash in "a sober state of mind."[7] While making the album, they both stayed away from clubs, preferring to ignore the latest fads in dance culture, wanting to develop a fresh approach, less reliant on grooves and samples and more focused on songwriting, often starting with just a voice and guitar.[6][7] "We kind of went back to school," says Buxton. "We got this new studio and had to learn how to use it." Adds Ratcliffe: "There was a greater sense that we didn’t know what we were doing but it was more enjoyable than before."[6]

Buxton also revealed that they were going to name the album Rhapsody, but his father thought it was "too square" and commented: "It would be okay if [the album] was a rap record about sodomy, but it’s not."[8] Someone else then said the title was "like a box of chocolates or a Gareth Gates album," so they changed it to Kish Kash before the artwork went to print.[9] The new name was a phrase for money used by one of their friends.[9]

The album was also their last recording with record label Astralwerks, as they announced backstage of the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.[10]


Dizzee Rascal and Siouxsie Sioux were notable two of the featured artists on the album.

The album opens with "Good Luck", with vocals contributed by Lisa Kekaula, a member from the American rock and roll group The Bellrays. Despite her musical style being different than the duo's. the duo decided to collaborate with The London Session Orchestra. "I've wanted to make a beautiful song. But I was suffering a lot on how to express it." At that time, their manager suggested them to use an orchestra. "The recording sessions were participated by 16 people. It was really spectacular. That is making real music!," he claimed.[11]

"Benjilude" features vocals from Joe Benjamin, a 70-year-old Bermudan man that walks around Brixton with "a Stetson hat, a large stick and a kind of poncho." Buxton befriended him when the man used to live there, then he invited him to studio. "We like interludes; used sparingly and wisely, they help to blend things," said Ratcliffe.[12][13]

Meshell Ndegeocello was touring in the UK when she worked with the duo for "Right Here's the Spot" and "Feels Like Home". But on the second day, she felt ill and they had to make her a bed in the vocal booth.[6] She told PrideSource about her experience working with the duo: "It was good. I had a great time and I enjoyed it very much. It was nice to work with different people. I always enjoy the experience of making music with people". On the making of "Right Here's the Spot", she laughed, stated: "I go out (to night clubs) myself and I love that particular genre of music. It was fun."[14] In 2015, she recalled the sessions with the duo, she stated that they "definitely taught [her] about sonics and sound, and also just the method of singing a lot and letting someone sift through it all and find the phrases which they like."

The collaboration between the duo and Phoebe Killdeer came as a suggestion from their record label, as Astralwerks also wanted Killdeer to study the two, despite the fact that she was a singer then herself. Killdeer recorded her part in three hours on an afternoon for the track "Tonight". She shared: "[It was] fun to work with them. We complemented each other well."[15]

The album's second track, "Right Here's the Spot", is a collaboration with Meshell Ndegeocello. Michaelangelo Matos from The Village Voice, called it "Ndegeocello's Prince-tribute collaboration with Basement Jaxx."[16] "Cish Cash", featuring the voice of Siouxsie Sioux, is a punk-influenced track.[7] The album's concluding track, "Feels Like Home", was claimed by's Martin Turenne as "the gloomiest track in Jaxx history" with "a beatless dirge in which grinding electronics buzz" under Meshell Ndegeocello's "mournful" singing.[7] Ernest Hardy from LA Weekly called the song a "dreamy, atmospheric closing number".[17]

The lyrical theme of "Supersonic" is "outer space".[18]

Musical styleEdit

"We wanted get back to the basics of what music was about and why it was important to us. If we had started this album with a carnival-esque house track, that wouldn't have felt fresh for us. We were interested in creating that genre, but not necessarily continuing on with it."

— Buxton on the new musical concept of Kish Kash with[7]

In the past, the pair had taken some of their cues from their dancefloor contemporaries but not this time. "We were listening to what other people were doing and realizing it was all pretty stagnant and uninspiring," says Simon. "There was nothing to look up to in a way. We had to do something new."[6] During this time, they enjoyed a variety of records which had "a less direct influence" on their record including albums from Radiohead, The Neptunes, Timbaland and System of a Down.[6] Kish Kash has an eclectic cast of characters, ranging from complete unknowns to cult heroes to household names, and from teenagers to 70-year-olds. "There’s no ageism on this record", Felix assures with a grin.[6]

While previous Jaxx influences included funk and house heroes like Prince and Todd Terry, the presence looming largest at the outset of album three was none other than Brian Eno.[7] "If anything, the new album is more classic in feel, more song-based", Ratcliffe explains to Billboard. "It's more traditional in that respect. It's also a bit more intelligent, which is a very dangerous word to use."[19]

Mark Pytlik from Pitchfork summed up the album's musical genres: "Containing fused-together fragments of disco, electro, acid, bollywood, new wave, and whatever the hell the incredible 'Living Room' is, Kish Kash's gaudy world collage fell by the wayside next to the minimalist sounds of microhouse and grime."[20]


The first single released from the album was "Lucky Star" in November 2003. It reached number 23 in the UK charts.[1] The single marked Basement Jaxx's return after a two-year break. The single featured Mercury Music Prize-winning artist Dizzee Rascal and British Bhangra vocalist Mona Singh on the chorus.[21]

"Good Luck" was released in January 2004 and debuted at number 12 in the UK.[1] The lead vocals were sung by Lisa Kekaula, lead singer of US band The Bellrays. "Good Luck" was re-released in July, due to exposure on the BBC coverage of the Euro 2004 television campaign. It reached number 14 that time around.[1]

"Plug It In", the third and final single from the album, was released on 4 April 2004 and debuted at number 22.[1] It featured 'N Sync member JC Chasez (credited as 'J.C. Chasez').

A music video which didn't feature Siouxsie Sioux was also made for "Cish Cash", though it was not released as a single.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [23]
Blender     [24]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[25]
The Guardian     [26]
Q     [29]
Rolling Stone     [30]
Uncut     [32]

Despite being very pleased with the album, the duo expected a critical backlash for its star turns and darker sound.[8] Review aggregator website Metacritic gave the album a score of 85 out of 100, signifying "universal acclaim".[22] "We thought we’d get a kicking", says Buxton, "but it’s gone down well."[8]

Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork gave Kish Kash a score of 9.1/10, calling the album "the most propulsive, ferocious music of the year as well as some of the most poignant."[28] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly called it "the richest and most fervent music the Jaxx have ever made".[25] John Davidson of PopMatters called it "their best sustained effort so far."[33] Andy Battaglia of The A.V. Club called it "an album that sets the bar for density and imagination almost unreasonably high."[34] Blender praised the album as "their most violently inventive album yet",[24] while Uncut described it as "a truly exhilarating 50 minutes of music."[32]

Stephen Dalton of NME, on the other hand, called Kish Kash "a naggingly problematic record" with "a void at its heart that no amount of cool celebrity mates can conceal."[27] Dave Simpson of The Guardian was critical of the album's "recurring sense of enforced jollity" and "lame attempts at introspection", but concluded that "anyone left standing on pop's dancefloor will certainly lap this up".[26] AllMusic's John Bush, whilst giving it a very positive review and calling it perhaps the best dance record of 2003, wrote that Kish Kash was "the least imaginative record Basement Jaxx have ever released."[23] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice was more reserved in his praise, giving the album a three-star honorable mention rating and remarking: "Is that blood the big-time vocalists smear on the tracks, or ichor?"[35]

Complex called the album their last "great project", seeing as their subsequent albums failed to make a mark with critics or the Grammy board.[36]

Ella Eyre said the album was the first she ever bought "because [she] kept stealing [her] mum's and [her mother] hid it from [her]." She also cited Basement Jaxx as one of her musical influences.[37][38]


Kish Kash was included in several year-end lists, including Spin at number 38.[39] It was voted the eighth best album of 2003 in the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of American critics nationwide, published by The Village Voice.[40]

Vice's electronic music website Thump ranked the album on their list of "99 Greatest Dance Albums of All Time" at number 36, calling it a "propulsive menu of gargantuan electronic overloads",[41] while at PopMatters, the album was listed on their "100 Best Albums of the 2000s" list at number 18.[42] Pitchfork ranked Kish Kash and Rooty at 66 and 65, respectively, in its list of the 100 top albums from 2000 to 2004.[20]

While predicting winners of the 47th Annual Grammy Awards' categories, Sal Cinquemani and Eric Henderson from Slant Magazine predicted the song's[which?] win, with Cinquemani jokingly said: "Do they really need to make room for Kish Kash? I would have thought it was a lock."[43] Their prediction came true as Basement Jaxx became the first ever to win this category. According to Billboard, their win was greeted with "universal applause."[44]

Track listingEdit

1."Good Luck" (featuring Lisa Kekaula)
  • Felix Buxton
  • Kekaula
  • Simon Ratcliffe
2."Right Here's the Spot" (featuring Meshell Ndegeocello)
  • Buxton
  • Ndegeocello
  • Ratcliffe
  • Buxton
  • Ratcliffe
4."Lucky Star" (featuring Dizzee Rascal)
  • Buxton
  • Mills
  • Ratcliffe
  • Buxton
  • Ratcliffe
6."Supersonic" (featuring Totlyn Jackson)
  • Buxton
  • Charles Campbell
  • Elwood Haygood
  • Ratcliffe
7."Plug It In" (featuring JC Chasez)
  • Buxton
  • Ratcliffe
  • Buxton
  • Ratcliffe
9."If I Ever Recover"
  • Buxton
  • Ratcliffe
10."Cish Cash" (featuring Siouxsie Sioux)
  • Buxton
  • Ratcliffe
  • Sioux
11."Tonight" (featuring Phoebe)
  • Buxton
  • Phoebe
  • Ratcliffe
12."Hot 'n Cold"
  • Buxton
  • Ratcliffe
13."Living Room"
  • Buxton
  • Ratcliffe
14."Feels Like Home" (featuring Meshell Ndegeocello)
  • Buxton
  • Ndegeocello
  • Ratcliffe
Total length:50:45

Credits and personnelEdit

Basement Jaxx
Additional personnel
  • Allonymous – vocals
  • Natasha Awuku – background vocals
  • Basil – percussion
  • Joe Benjamin – vocals
  • JC Chasez – vocals
  • Cherokee – backing vocals
  • Nathan "Tugg" Curran – drums
  • Dizzee Rascal – vocals
  • Sharlene Hector – choral vocals, backing vocals
  • Cotlyn Jackson – vocals
  • Totlyn Jackson – vocals
  • Simeon Jones – harmonica
  • Lisa Kekaula – vocals
  • Francine Kufonji – backing vocals
  • Kele Le Roc – backing vocals
  • Phil Lee – assistance
  • Xenia Lewis – vocals
  • The London Session Orchestra – strings
  • Will Malone – string arrangements and conduction
  • Meshell Ndegeocello – bass guitar, production, vocals
  • Phoebe Killdeer – vocals[45]
  • Mandy Senior – backing vocals
  • Siouxsie Sioux – vocals
  • Nadia Cielto Steele – backing vocals
  • Ty – backing vocals
  • Cassie Watson – backing vocals
  • Gavyn Wright – string conduction
  • Jason Anthoney Wright – backing vocals
Technical personnel
  • Mike Marsh – mastering
  • Sue Amaradivakara – sleeve illustrations


Chart (2003) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[46] 29
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[47] 67
Irish Albums (IRMA)[48] 36
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[49] 40
UK Albums (OCC)[50] 17
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[51] 2


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[52] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c d e "Basement Jaxx | Official Charts Company". Official Charts. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Past Winners Search". Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  3. ^ Barkham, Patrick (8 September 2004). "Mercury rises for art pop of Franz Ferdinand". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  4. ^ Matt Munday. "Basement Jaxx are back: can they recover their sunny outlook in time for Bestival? | Features | Culture". The Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Basement Jaxx — Junction EP". Atlantic Jaxx's official website. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Basement Jaxx biography". Astralwerks. Universal Music Publishing Group. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Turenne, Martin (1 January 2006). "The World Comes Around to Basement Jaxx". Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "The pop idol's pop idols". The Scotsman. 16 November 2003. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  9. ^ a b Chapman, Anna (24 October 2003). "Burning down the house that Basement Jaxx built". Independent. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  10. ^ Leeds, Jeff (14 February 2005). "Grammy Awards Pay Posthumous Tribute to Ray Charles". New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  11. ^ Matsunaga, Naohisa. "Basement Jaxx Interview". Vibe (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 15 September 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  12. ^ Richards, Sam (15 December 2012). "Basement Jaxx's favourite tracks". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  13. ^ Kleinfeld, Justin (13 November 2003). "Basement Jaxx: An insider's look at Kish Kash" (Google Books). CMJ New Music Report. CMJ. 77 (835): 36. ISSN 0890-0795. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  14. ^ Shapiro, Gregg (16 October 2003). "'Comfort' and joy: an interview with Meshell Ndegeocello". PrideSource. Pride Source Media Group, LLC. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Phoebe Killdeer". Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  16. ^ Michaelangelo Matos (15 June 2011). "Five Geeky Prince Questions For Meshell Ndegeocello". The Village Voice. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  17. ^ Ernest Hardy (27 November 2003). "Forgive Me, Meshell". LA Weekly. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Universal Music Publishing Group | Scandinavia". Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  19. ^ Paoletta, Michael (18 October 2003). "Jaxx Goes Pop On Third Set" (Google Books). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 115 (42): 27. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  20. ^ a b Pitchfork staff(s) (7 February 2005). "The Top 100 Albums of 2000-04". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Sexy & Successful 2011 – Mona Singh". Anokhi Magazine. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  22. ^ a b "Reviews for Kish Kash by Basement Jaxx". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  23. ^ a b Bush, John. "Kish Kash – Basement Jaxx". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  24. ^ a b Lynskey, Dorian (November 2003). "Basement Jaxx: Kish Kash". Blender (21): 109. Archived from the original on 13 August 2004. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  25. ^ a b Browne, David (24 October 2003). "Kish Kash". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  26. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (17 October 2003). "Basement Jaxx, Kish Kash". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  27. ^ a b Dalton, Stephen (24 October 2003). "Basement Jaxx : Kish Kash". NME. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  28. ^ a b Plagenhoef, Scott (21 October 2003). "Basement Jaxx: Kish Kash". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  29. ^ "Basement Jaxx: Kish Kash". Q (208): 106. November 2003.
  30. ^ Hardy, Ernest (22 October 2003). "Basement Jaxx: Kish Kash". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 10 November 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  31. ^ Hermes, Will (December 2003). "Basement Jaxx: Kish Kash". Spin. 19 (12): 126–29. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  32. ^ a b "Basement Jaxx: Kish Kash". Uncut (79): 122. December 2003.
  33. ^ Davidson, John (19 November 2003). "Basement Jaxx: Kish Kash". PopMatters. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  34. ^ Battaglia, Andy (21 October 2003). "Basement Jaxx: Kish Kash". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  35. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Basement Jaxx: Kish Kash". Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  36. ^ khrisd (10 February 2013). "Remembering Past Best Dance/Electronica Album Grammy Winners". Complex. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  37. ^ Griffiths, Sarah Jane (9 January 2014). "BBC Sound of 2014: Ella Eyre". BBC. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  38. ^ Lloyd, Christopher (15 October 2003). "Album Review: Basement Jaxx - Kish Kash / Releases / Releases // Drowned In Sound". Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  39. ^ Spin staff(s) (31 December 2003). "The 40 Best Albums of 2003". Spin. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  40. ^ Christgau, Robert (17 February 2004). "The 2003 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  41. ^ Thump staff(s) (14 July 2015). "The 99 Greatest Dance Albums of All Time". Thump. Vice Media. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  42. ^ PopMatters staff(s) (10 October 2014). "The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s". PopMatters. PopMatters Media. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  43. ^ Cinquemani, Sal; Henderson, Eric (20 January 2005). "Grammy 2005 Winner Predictions". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  44. ^ Paoletta, Michael (26 February 2005). "Jaxx Wins Grammy, And Its Freedom" (Google Books). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 117 (9): 37. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  45. ^ Rhoads, Celeste. "Biography — Phoebe Killdeer". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  46. ^ " – Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  47. ^ " – Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  48. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 44, 2003". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  49. ^ " – Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  50. ^ "Basement Jaxx | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  51. ^ "Basement Jaxx Chart History (Top Dance/Electronic Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  52. ^ "British album certifications – Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 17 February 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Kish Kash in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External linksEdit