While tidying out a dark corner of the home office recently, some boxes of old CDs revealed themselves, among them a hillock of promos from the late 90s. Why I kept them is anyone’s guess. A quick flick on Discogs reveals I have hoarded absolutely nothing of value, but riches are relative, right? In that box a whole world of forgotten artists and potential lost treasures awaits. Surely.
While I’ve not seen these CDs for two decades (they’ve moved house several times), I immediately reached for Cut And Paste’s ‘Come Unstuck’. Freskanova was going great guns in 1999. Their main attraction was The Freestlyers, whose debut album, 1998’s ‘We Rock Hard’, I loved. A west London collective of DJs, MCs, breakdancers and loose cannons, they rode the big beat wave, but main man Matt Cantor was hip hop to the core.
Unsurprisingly, ‘Come Unstuck’ is Cantor and fellow Freska cohort, Plump DJs’ Andy Gardiner, who unleash a total samplefest. It’s a beat-fuelled, late 20th century jam that would have Grandmaster Flash nodding in approval, cutting and pasting everything from, well, just everything actually.
Start with James Brown and work backwards. Puffy Daddy, ‘Un Homme Et Une Femme’, Schooly D, Public Enemy… and that’s just the first track, ‘Take A Piece Of America’. ‘Planet Boogie’ is a total crowd-pleaser where Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rockit’ and Houdini’s ‘Magic Wand’ meets huge four to the floor beats and pleasing acid squelches. When the synth line from ‘Magic Wand’ drops, you can’t help but grin.
Clapping like seal being chucked fresh fish is a theme throughout. The title track is built from ‘Theme From SWAT’, Jimmy “Bo” Horne’s awesome ‘Dance Across The Floor’ and Cheryl Lynn’s ‘Got To Be Real’. ‘Cut It Nice’ is Beasties meets Run DMC, ‘Half Term Break’ kills it with Alan Hawkshaw’s ‘Chicken Man’ (Yup, the ‘Grange Hill’ theme) meets Public Enemy. The brilliant ‘Watch This Sound’ lifts from Ann Pebbles’ ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’ and takes it where the big beat leads it. We’d be here half the night trying to pick out all the samples, there’s also plenty here that’ll have you going “what is that tune?”. In short, it is a treat and a half.
Freskanova must’ve chucked a sizable wedge of Freestylers cash at sample clearance judging by this beano. But why not? With Cantor at the peak of his powers, a little fun was surely in order. Best of all, it more than stands up after being plucked out of an old box after 20 years. Could have come out last week. Total class.