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Record Review

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Freddy Fresh is best known in America for uttering, "Fatboy Slim is fucking in heaven," on the big-beat giant's 1998 album, You've Come a Long Way, Baby. Abroad, though -- particularly in England -- the St. Paul, Minn., native is a top club draw thanks to his enormous discography (over 100 12-inches ranging from hip-hop to a wide variety of electronic dance styles) and a legendary 1998 appearance on the London Radio One's Essential Mix, where he cut up nearly 100 records in two hours. He's remixed everyone from Boogie Down Productions and Grandmaster Flash to Alec Empire and Meat Beat Manifesto. And until now, he's never put an album out in his native country.

As you might've guessed from the above-listed CV, the sound of Music for Swingers, Fresh's sixth album, is typified by all of the above-named artists, several of whom are name-checked on "Death of Big Beat." The music is somewhat old-fashioned -- sometimes on purpose (the electro-revivalism of "Death of Big Beat" and "Jump Around"). Other times it's seemingly stuck in a time warp (the shlocky '60s soundtrack flavored the big beat of "Peppermint;" the early-rave chill-out-isms of "Who's Gonna Laugh Now??").

This isn't a bad thing, though. The early-hip-hop-flavored "Dig This!" might be a bit gauche, down to the exclamation point in its title, but damned if it doesn't bring the funk and all that junk. Even the slow stuff toward the end gains presence with repeated listens.

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