Norman Cook is the man behind the name Fatboy Slim. He was a contributor to many musical projects prior to this album, yet did not really get any attention in the music world until after the release of this album, his first. It is regarded as a classic in the EDM world, so let’s see if it holds the claim well today.
We kick off with Song For Lindy which has some strange melodic noises, before kicking off into a superb breakbeat groove to hear. It has a great riff in it which is a wah-wah sound, before going straight back into the mayhem. It is a strong piece for sure. A drifting piano riff then comes in, along with some unusual percussion. It’s certainly interesting listening. Very original and suspenseful. The beats here are fantastic. A very good start to this album. The outro is spacey.
Next is Santa Cruz: Extended which begins with some freak out noises, before beats and melody create a picturesque backdrop in a musical sense. There are some spacey Acid sounds here, along with original breakbeats. This is an excellent listen so far, and is a mixture of EDM, IDM and Breakbeat. The freaky sounds re-emerge in the middle of the track, driving the suspense to a very high level. The cut-up breakbeats then come back gradually, along with the energetic melodies here. It’s a great listen whether you are at home, in the club or in the car. Brilliant. An extended piece of glory.
The Weekend Starts Here starts with some laidback melodies and a Black Sabbath harmonica sample from The Wizard, before going into a chill sort of groove breakbeat EDM. It cements the excellent sound of this album, and the music consistency throughout. It’s a slow burner, yet neither too fast nor too boring. It just sounds really good. It’s a great track to listen to, especially on weekends. The tracks on this album are fairly lengthy, being over five minutes on average. Yet, these are solid gold numbers. Good effort. The outro is very psychedelic.
Going Out Of My Head is a brilliant sonic pastiche that does what it says, making you go out of your own head. There are interesting guitar samples, pounding breakbeats and a musicality than cannot be matched. Fatboy Slim is on fire here. It’s amazing music, and is ahead of many competitors here, especially those who made similar music at the time. A great effort, simply brilliant. It is rather quirky too, with a great repeated vocal throughout. This sounds very much ahead of its time. Excellent. The outro takes you to outer space.
Next is Everybody Needs A 303. This is a classic track devoted to the Acid EDM machine itself, the Roland TB-303. It was a huge hit at the time, and has alternating sections of melodies. The subsonic bass part here is really mindblowing. In fact, the whole piece is ingenious. Note that Roland sells various versions of the TB-303 today if you are interested, and yes, this track is fantastic. A real party tune, it has some unique samples and melodies. The suspense and surprise builds right up at the end, listen carefully for it. There is some morse code like sounds and epic breakbeats at the end of this track.
After that we arrive at Give The Po’Man A Break which sounds better than the title of the track suggests. It’s a blood pumping, uptempo number that is fun to listen to. There is a great sense of melody and musicality on this one. Some more TB-303 noises enter the mix, before breaking down into a looped vocal in the midsection. It’s more dance music than thinking music, but still, this is really excellent. A little repetitive, but still a quality listen. It builds up into a crescendo, then goes back into the breakbeats. Great effort.
10th and Crenshaw comes next. It starts off in a basic way, before going into a rather trippy sounding piece. A great combination of breaks and beats are here, and sounds a lot like something Uberzone would do later on. Another looped vocal sample leads into the next part, which sounds like Acid sirens. We then going into more Acid melodies, with what sounds like a bit of beat boxing, Syd Barrett style. It’s a good track, once again. The ending is brilliant.
First Down has some basic drumbeats that are chopped up like a tomato in the kitchen at the start, before a sampled Jazz bass melody then join in. Some more Jazz sounds then come in, namely wind section based instruments. It’s a fresh, inspired, original and captivating listen. A wah-wah sound which is almost piano like comes along, and makes this track quite funky. Another great song, and worth addition to this album. A quirky, Jazz inspired listen. Some experimentation with delay is at the end here.
Next is Punk To Funk which actually sounds like a Crash Bandicoot music track for one of the futuristic courses in that game. Despite that, it’s an interesting listen which goes into a bass heavy part with unusual percussion. The sounds and samples here are legendary. This has beats that would make The Chemical Brothers go green, as well as many others. It has a great sample of what sounds like a pre-1950s movie Jazz sound on this track. It’s short, but good.
Last is The Sound Of Milwaukee which starts off with a vocal sample that implies dancing is a good thing, before going into a straightforward track. A very nice way to finish off this classic album. Some bongo beats join in the mix, along with some chanting and other unusual noises. Some 1960s style organ sounds are here, too. A great conclusion to this recording.
Every track here is near perfect. This is Fatboy Slim’s best release to date, and it goes to show the effort put into the music here. If you have a liking for cut up melodies, Roland TB-303 sounds and a sense of melodic adventure, this no doubt should be perfect for you. There is a 20th anniversary edition with loads of unreleased songs from these sessions, which will be covered in a later update. Still, this album is mega.