Various Artists

Eccentric Breaks and Beats

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In the music business, if you're good enough at something, eventually you'll be copied or bootlegged. The Numero Group is by far one of the top labels for discovering unfound or lost musical treasures that sometimes never even made it to 45s. In this technological age when beats are often pieced together on desktop computers through software like FL Studio, music is either bought digitally or easily encoded to digital format, and distribution can take place on peer-to-peer sites, bootlegging is even easier. The crate-digger mentality often centers around finding a loop or break that no one else has sampled in the past. So in that regard, Numero puts itself in a leading position to have its catalog sampled. Honestly, it's surprising that it hasn't happened before now. With an expansive artist roster that ranges from Northern soul and early hip-hop to folk and gospel, coupled with its knack for quality control, Numero has a catalog that's a beatmaker's dream, as the label has done the hard work for you. A production collective known only as Shoes took it upon themselves to create an old-school 40-minute beat tape divided into two 20-minute halves. With beats that span brooding to sweet, they all hit with a neck-snapping nod to boom bap. The beats are culled from everything from voice-overs of Catherine Howe, an English folkster, to sound snippets from Al Jarnow's 1979 "Cosmic Clocks" animated art piece, which was only released three months previously on Numero's Celestial Navigations. Given such a short turnaround time of beats being made from recently released material, it makes you wonder whether it was truly a bootleg job or commissioned work that is being cleverly marketed. It truly makes no difference, as Eccentric Breaks and Beats is a document that needn't have its authenticity, apocryphal or not, dissected to be validated. Numero saw the value in releasing it whether it was the label's concept or not. Given that Numero is used to paying homage to yesteryear, someone turned the tables on the label by honoring its digging with a nod to an old, albeit more recent, format in the beat tape. Obviously assembled with a discerning ear, the cleverly crafted chops and samples are there. The only thing missing is the ribbon between two spools encased in hard, clear plastic and a boombox placed on a street corner or next to a chainlink fence at a public basketball park blaring the beats.

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