Archive for the ‘Fatboy Slim’ Category

Towa Power

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

I’ve been trying to write a lot more lately and I think the results have been relatively good. Over at my other site you can find a goofy little write-up about a strange Japanese arcade game, as well as a piece about a game music DJ set that I went to.  I don’t often say this, but I’m kinda sorta proud of the latter piece and I think it covers something more people should know about, so if you read it and like it, please feel free to share it with your friends via your social media platform of choice. More people need to know about dope underground game music DJ shows in Tokyo.

Towa Tei
Butterfly (Extended)
Moth (DJ Die & Suv Remix)
“Butterfly” is a track from Towa’s 1999 album Last Century Modern, which is a great album I recommend checking out if you like 90s electronic music, very drum and bass in parts, but it still keeps some of that Towa lounge sound that he’s known so well for. “Butterfly” is a standout track from the album, I think it was a single first. It’s definitely an example of Towa incorporating the Shibuya Kei lounge music sound into a more upbeat and modern context. A really fun and upbeat track. “Moth” is the B-side remix, which makes me hope that somewhere there’s a cassette only remix of the track called “Pupa” or “Caterpillar” or something. I do have some more remixes of “Butterfly,” but they’re on an album I plan on sharing in its entirety on a later date so they’ll have to wait for now, sorry. These two mixes came from a 12″ single. That single also came with a stupid poster. Look.

No Way (Full Mix)
No Way (Norman’s Club Mix)
No Way (Dee Joy Delite Mix)
Pro-tip for anyone out there collecting obscure dance singles from the mid-to-late-90s (I can’t be the only one, right?). If you see the name “Norman” on it anywhere, that Norman is probably Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim. That’s certainly the case with this one. Freakpower is one in a long line of Fatboy Slim aliases and collaborative acts, which also included Cheeky Boy, Pizza Man and Yum Yum Head Food. The next time you think that Fatboy Slim is a dumb name, keep those other possibilities in mind.

Freakpower was one of the more prolific aliases for Cook, he actually released two albums as part of the group, one in 1994 and another in 1996. I’ve never heard either of them, but if they’re anything like “No Way” I highly suspect they sound like Fatboy Slim albums.


One Man and a Blog…Machine

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Sorry for the lack of updates last week. Life got crazy for a bit, and I lost an entire day because I had to transfer all my music to my new computer. And yo, when you have about half a terabyte of MP3s that shit takes some serious time.

I got good stuff planned for this week though! Check it!

Norman Cook
For Spacious Lies
For Spacious Beats
The Invasion of The Estate Agents
For Spacious Ballad
Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim has gone by about a billion aliases (The Cheeky Boy, Sunny Side Up, Pizzaman, just to name a few) but this 1989 12″ single is one of the few to bear his actual name. It came out during a rather odd time in Cook’s career. He had left The Housemartins a few years before, but was still a year away from finding his first taste of success in the burgeoning dance scene as part of Beats International. He hasn’t yet found his “voice” as a producer/remixer/DJ, and it shows. The A-side “For Spacious Lies” is very generic by-the-numbers hip house, the kind of track made by someone looking to score with broad appeal. It’s rather boring.

Thankfully, Cook fared far better with the B-side “The Invasion of The Estate Agents.” It’s pretty much just the instrumental for Beats International’s cover of “Just Be Good To Me,”  an incredibly mellow bass groove with a Morricone sample built in. It works great, so great that Cook would later re-use the track as a the basis for his first hit single with Beats International, “Dub Be Good To Me.”

The Wee Papa Girls
Heat It Up (Adonis Chicago House Mix)
Heat It Up (Detroit House Mix)
Heat It Up (Extended Mix)
Heat It Up (Single Edit)
Heat It Up (Adonis House Instrumental)
The Wee Papa Girls are awesome. I already established this when I wrote about them before, first when discussing the Jive Presents Acid House LP, and then again when posting the Jive Presents In House album.

This time, however, they’re made even all the more awesome with the additional production and remix work by Two Men and a Drum Machine. Who are Two Men And a Drum Machine, you ask? Well, they would be a side project by Andy Cox and David Steele. You may not recognize those names, but you’ve surely heard their music before. In the early 80s they were part of the original line-up of The (English) Beat, the excellent ska act who gave up “Mirror in the Bathroom” and “Save It For Later,” among other clasics. Then after that group broke up the duo met singer Roland Gift and formed Fine Young Cannibals, who had major smash hits with “She Drives Me Crazy” and “Good Thing.” (They also did the most shockingly brilliant cover of “Ever Fallen In Love” you’ll ever hear).

Their output as TWo Men and a Drum Machine is sadly sparse. The only track the duo released as Two Men And a Drum Machine was the 1988 single “Tired of Getting Pushed Around,” which is actually credited to “Two Men A Drum Machine and a Trumpet,” and this track by The Wee Papa Girls is their only production credit. It’s a shame, their work as Two Men and a Drum Machine was way more interesting and innovative than anything they put out as members of Fine Young Cannibals.

They definitely missed their calling as acid house/hip-hop producers. “Heat It Up” is a great track, of the stuff by The Wee Papa Girls that I’ve heard it’s clearly the best. The acid house production is tight, and the flow by the girls is great. How great? So great that The Beastie Boys swiped parts of it wholesale some 10 years later for their track “Alive.” Either that or both artists swiped from the same source material. If anyone out there knows of another track that features the same vocal hook, please tell me. Rap is so full of “homages” that sometimes it can be hard to tell who was the real originator and who was borrowing from who.

Dub Be Good To Blog

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

I think I’m starting to run out of barely-known acts from the 80s and 90s to write about. I’ve gone pretty deep down the new wave/dance/electronic rabbit holes, but are there any acts out there you all would recommend that I haven’t yet featured on this blog? Any suggestions would be appreciated. I’m trying to get more into 90s dance music, but there’s just so much of it! I love acid house and trance, if that’s any help to anyone thinking of recommendations.

Tonight’s post is all “dub,” a genre whose defining aural charactistics are as mysterious to me as its name. I only know that these tracks are dub because the Internet tells me it is true.

What makes these songs dub? The basslines? The general “grooviness” of them? Their instrumental passages? And what the hell does dub have in common with dubstep? How the hell did that connection form? Reggae has about as much in common with Skrillex as baroque pop has with Mastodon.

Zion Youth (Dreadzone Mix)
Zion Youth (Digidub Mix)
Zion Youth (Underworld Mix)
Zion Youth (Dan Donovan Mix)
Dreadzone is a dub/reggae/electronic group comprised mostly of former Big Audio Dynamite members, including Dan Donovan and Greg Roberts. When you consider the fact that I own every single release Big Audio Dynamite (II) ever put out, the fact that I had never even heard Dreadzone until I picked up this 12″ single last week is pretty amazing. It’s less amazing when you consider the fact that I don’t really like reggae.Don’t get me wrong, after listening to a bit of their music I’m convinced that Dreadzone are very good at what they do – it’s just not my scene. However, if I smoked weed this shit would probably sound amazing.

Even if you don’t like dub/reggae I recommend checking out the Underworld mix, since it basically transforms the track into an above-average mid-90s rave tune. In fact, I suspect they reused much of their work on this remix for their own track, “King of Snake,” a few years later. It certainly sounds familiar to that legendary track.

Beats International
Won’t Talk About It (12″ Norman Cook Mix)
Won’t Talk About It (7″ Norman Cook Mix)
Won’t Talk About It (12″ One Big Bad World Mix)
Won’t Talk About It (12″ Frankie Foncett Mix)
Won’t Talk About It (7″ Beats International Theme)
Beats International was the first dance music vehicle for Norman Cook (AKA Fatboy Slim) after his days as the bass player for The Housemartins, but before his days as Freak Power, Pizzaman, The Mighty Dub Katz or whatever other horrible name he went by for five minutes in the mid-90s. That’s an interesting bit of music trivia, but what I find to be much more of an interesting tidbit about Beats International is that they employed a graffiti artist as a band member. This person’s only job was to spray paint shit on the stage during live shows.

And I thought that The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were the only band to have members whose sole purpose was to do stupid shit on stage. The Internet, read it, you’ll learn shit. Not important shit, mind you, but hey, beats working.

These are all excellent mixes of a great tune. I especially love the “One Big Bad World Mix,” as it has a pretty awesome intro. The “7” Beats International Theme” mix is pretty great too, although its propensity for using record scratches as a backbeat totally wreaked havoc with my scratch-removal software.