Norman Cook

Norman Cook

All Star Breakbeats


As Fatboy Slim, Norman Cook is one of today’s most successful crossover-artists, with his trademark blending of furious breakbeats with instantly hummable melodies, that have seen club music take over the charts and radio airplay. Along with The Chemical Brothers, Cook pioneered the commercially very viable Big Beat genre, and on this album — designated for use by DJs and producers — Cook has collected some loops and a series of samples to help the upcoming musician produce his/her own tracks.

Albums like this one are rarely intended as listening material as much as they’re meant to be used (although some recent artists, such as the mighty Plastikman, have started to explore the artistic potentiality of this format, in addition to the more obvious pragmatic one). And while Cook is a brilliant songsmith, this release obviously doesn’t provide a vehicle for his talents in that respect. So what you get, then, is a bunch of drum tracks (masking as breakbeats) that mainly work to demonstrate just how fragile is the foundation that Big Beat rests on. It’s all rather unimaginative, proving that Cook may be a fine songwriter but not necessarily an original wizard or a brilliant musician.

Another question posed by this album simply goes “Why?” These days, everyone with half a brain and access to a computer can churn out loops like these in a matter of seconds. And you surely don’t have to depend on someone else to dig out samples and snippets of casual sounds for you. If you are putting together a collection of samples and loops, you’d need to be a bit more creative about it than what Cook is. If you want to provide a basis that other artists can build upon, you should put in a bit of effort and try to make something meaningful and important. As it is, Cook seems to have taken the easy way out by simply lumping together some run-of-the-mill material, probably going for an easy buck. It’s a lazy solution that does neither himself nor his fans any favor.

Hypnotic Recordings:

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