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October 15, 2004 at 6:59 am #2846Streed_303Participant
The last couple of weeks I have been excited about the New Fatboy Slim’s album Palookaville. Also, the response from listeners has been favorable as well. So, I have awarded him with a high chart position on the CMJ RPM charts. Yes, he has knocked my beloved Scissor Sisters out of their coveted top spot!
Who is Fatboy Slim? Basically, Mr. Slim is a moniker or alter-ego for a Mr. Noman Cook; a man who is definately no stranger to the electronic/ dance music scene. Years ago, Norman was a bass player in a band called the Housemartins (1985-1989 ish). From what I’ve read, they were like the Smiths. One of these days, I am going to do some digging and see if we have any of this music in our back library. Any way, once the 1990’s hit Norman Cook changed gears and moved ahead in the beat making department – leading an outfit called Beat’s International and lending his skills to a variety of remix work. Speaking of remix, it became a sort of a badge of honor; a brand of sort. If one was shopping for music and noticed there was a track featuring a Norman Cook remix, you knew what to expect, and it was a certain level of quality also. But of course, this went both ways. Sure, a strong track wouldn’t hurt to have a Norman Cook remix as part of the whole package, but if the track was relatively unknown or pretty bad to begin with, then all the superstar help in the word can’t save it. You see this paralell in the rock word as well. New bands or sometimes somewhat established bands (with sagging support) are often paired with high profile producers to give them a ‘boost’ (I am sure you can think of quite a few examples of this).
When it came time for Norman Cook to release some solo material, you know the expectations were high. Enter 2004 and the release of Palookaville. This is Norman’s fourth release as Fatboy Slim. Previously, there was “Better Living through Chemistry”; “You’ve Come A Long Way Baby”; and “Halfway Between the Gutter & Stars”. Palookaville differs from these releases in the fact that Norman uses more ‘live’ instruments and many of the tracks follow a more traditional song format (verse / chorus etc…). But, Norman did not forget what put him on the map, there are plenty of tracks that follow the ‘classic’ Fatboy Slim formula to keep some familiarity. Some of these familiar sounding songs include (my favorite) ‘Slash Dot Dash’ and ‘Jin Go Lo Bah’. Come to think of it, IMHO; “Jin Go Lo Bah” could almost qualify as a remix since it heavily relies on a track by Babatunde Olatunji of the same name. Of the new tracks (which have a more live feel), I have recieved some positive feedback on the Steve Miller cover of ‘The Joker’. Mr. Cook employs the help of Bootsy Collins (P-funk) to create a fun little rendition.
Anyway, there is a lot to like about Norman Cook as an artist. Unlike almost all other electronic artists, Norman cook uses pretty much the same setup he has for many years; an Atari ST computer and two Akai samplers (I believe S950’s). Whereas it is almost a birthright for electronic artists to seek out the latest technologies and move their ‘art’ forward. Unfortunately, this progress comes along with the stories of gear unreliability, software crashes, and the learning curve associated with anything new). Like a true musician, Mr. Cook knows the strengths and limitations of his system and creates music that works within (and often pushes) these paramaters (now, doesn’t that sound so Brian Eno?).
You can find out more about earlier Fatboy Slim relases by checking out the web. Astralwerks.com should be a good start. Also, check out the latest issue of Remix magazine ( Vol 6. No. 10 Oct 2004) – Which by the way also has a great cover story of Bjork!
I am not sure where else (around here) you will hear Palookaville but on WCNI. Granted, tracks from “You’v Come a Long Way Baby” such as the ‘Rockafella Skank (Funk Soul Brother)’ and ‘Praise You’ made the pop charts and had some MTV play. I believe ‘Praise You’ actually won an award on MTV. Speaking of videos, you can’t forget the video for “Gutter’s” ‘Weapon of Choice’ which features Christopher (More Cowbell) Walken dancing around a 1970’s looking hotel lobby.
For the love of music, tell your favorite (Electronic) DJ to drop some Fatboy Slim! They will be glad to do so! Even on Malcom’s Danze Zone; Malcom was heard dropping the recent Fatboy Slim white-label remix of the Rolling Stone’s ‘Sympathy For The Devil’. The request will be gladly honored.
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