Though Fatboy Slim, a.k.a. Norman Cook, just put the finishing touches on his upcoming album, "Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars," earlier this week, the record's first single, "Sunset (Bird Of Prey)", is already beginning to make the rounds after being leaked on the Web.
For the song, Cook lifted a sample of late Doors frontman Jim Morrison singing a few lines of poetry from his 1978 posthumous album, "An American Prayer," a record that was issued some seven years after Morrison died of heart failure while staying at a Paris hotel.
Cook recently told MTV News that he first heard the vocal bit on a bootleg of outtakes from "American Prayer" a few years ago, then assembled a rough version of "Sunset (Bird Of Prey)" for an album that was circulated among his friends.
no, I found a bootleg of him just sort of talking. It was the off-cuts from 'An American Prayer,' and being a DJ, you're always looking for a cappella bits of vocals that no one's used before.
"And just in the midst of all this kind of ranting about dead Indians and snakes and lizards and that, he just sort of sings these three lines. I don't know, it just kind of touched me. It's quite an evocative sort of singing, and because it was just recorded on somebody's cassette recorder, it has quite an interesting sound. [RealVideo]
"[As for] the idea of using that vocal," Cook continued, "I kind of did that on an ambient album that I made just for my friends about four years ago, which also had the original version of 'Praise You' on it as well.
"After 'Praise You' was a hit, I kind
of thought, 'Well, I
wonder if there's anything else on that ambient album that if you put drums on it could be a good tune?' It had always been one of those sort of records that you chill out to at five o'clock in the morning, when you're winding down from [coming home from] a club." [RealVideo]
Aside from the inherent spookiness of using vocals provided by a dead man, the dark and haunting tone of "Sunset (Bird Of Prey)" is a departure from the lighter, poppier material that characterized Fatboy Slim's previous effort, 1998's "You've Come A Long Way, Baby," a move that Cook noted was both intentional and necessary.
"The goofy side of what I do kind of got a bit carried away on the last album," he said, "and when you're just sort of traveling around the world, getting drunk every night, you kind of go, 'Yee-hah!'
having a little pause, I'm a bit more reflective about life now, and I'm going to be a father this year and stuff like that. So it's trying to be a bit more grown up and a bit more soulful and a bit less Disney, because 'Disney breakbeat' is how somebody described the last album, and, ouch, that hurt." [RealVideo]
Fatboy Slim's "Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars" is due in record stores on November 7 from Astralwerks.