You've Come a Long Way Baby Album reviews.
Release Date: 10.20.98
Record label: astralwerks / skint
Genre(s): Trance, Big Beat, Ambient, House, Trip-Hop, etc.
The Funk Soul Brother
by: bill aicher
Right about now, the Funk Soul Brother, Check it out now, the Funk Soul Brother.
My God does this guy kick ass. I mean, how is it humanly possibly for one single human to kick as much ass as Fatboy Slim, AKA Norman Cook, does. Last year he released his first album as Fatboy Slim - Better Living Through Chemistry - an album which has been a favorite around here since we first got our hands on it. Tommy and I have both been eagerly awaiting this new disc, and the day has finally come.
Norman Cook has been making music for 15 years, under various names. Yes kids, he was Mighty Dub Katz and Pizzaman (but if you want more info on a bio check out his page). Ever since becoming Fatboy Slim he has been laying down the funky beats using not much more than an Akai sampler and a 303. (I mean hell, Everybody Needs a 303). The music on this disc is not too much different than the stuff off of Better Living... but it does have a different flavor in places.
The disc opens with "Right Here, Right Now" (no it doesn't use any Van Halen samples) a song which is more orchestral than anything off of Better Living. He changes musical style in it a bit, sampling some music of a classical nature as well as some techno house, mixing it together to make a little symphony of sorts. This track is followed up with "The Rockafeller Skank". This song was released as the first single of the album way back in March. Since then it has received a fairly generous amount of radio and MTV play.
"Kalifornia" takes you on a way-back machine, well kindof, back to electronic vocals ala Freestyle. This track, as well as "Love Island" venture into the world of house techno, kind of like early Moby (Everything is Wrong or his self-titled disc). "Love Island" will be a great dance track - very heavy big beat style and sure to get any body moving with its distorted house bass track, wind chimes, and techno chord progressions. "Praise You" is the closest we get to Fatboy of old, sampling "Take Yo Praise" by Camille Yarborough. The album receives its Explicit Lyrics label from "In Heaven" where the repeated sample is "Fatboy Slim is fucking in heaven" - don't play it for your mother.
Why can't Americans mix it up so well? My only hope is that someday I will be able to mix it up as good as him and also become a funk soul brother.