Norman Cook

A Break from the Norm

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Former Housemartins bassist as well as electronica and trip-hop guru Norman Cook is perhaps better known for his work as Fatboy Slim or as a third of Pizzaman. On this single disc compilation, Cook gathers the full-length recordings from which he and his fellow posse of samplers have helped themselves, in the pursuit of creating their own unique musical statement. In the brief liner notes essay, he attempts to rationalize his actions -- which many of the original artists prefer to call theft -- by reiterating that his intent on this volume is to allow these sides an opportunity to "finally [get] props and exposure in their pure form." To that end Break From The Norm (2001) is an unmitigated success as each of these disparate platters can be heard prior to their electronic rape and pillage. Admittedly, these cuts are getting a second chance to be heard by an entirely new generation of enthusiasts. Undoubtedly, many of whom have parents younger than a majority of the material featured on this disc. The tune stack resembles the proverbial ‘mixed' or ‘party' tapes (or CDs) that we have all made for primarily personal consumption. However the twist is that 99.9% of the song was not included in the digital reconfiguration [read: sample]. For old school music appreciators, this collection gathers some hard-to-locate ‘sleeper' classics from rock, R&B, adult contemporary and just about every sub-genre in between. As each track is equally essential, here is a list of the originals with their sampled counterpart (stated parenthetically): "Take Yo' Praise" ("Praise You"), "Love Loves To Love Love" ("Santa Cruz"), "Higher Ground" ("Song For Lindy"), "I Can't Write Left-Handed" ("Demons"), "I Can't Explain" ("Goin' Out Of My Head"), "Let The Rhythm Pump" ("Ya Mama"), "Beatbox Wash (Let It Rinse)" ("Gangsta Trippin'"), "Sliced Tomatoes" ("Rockerfella Skank", "Young Scene" ("Punk To Funk"), "Humpin', Bumpin' & Thumpin'" ("Sho Nuff"), "I'll Do A Little Bit More" ("Soul Surfin'"), "The Acid Test" ("Build It Up, Tear It Down"), "Beat Girl" ("Rockerfella Skank"), The "Kettle" ("Ya Mama") and "Ashes The Rain & I" ("Right Here, Right Now"). A Break From The Norm" was issued outside of the U.K. on the Restless Records label in 2002.

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