Various Artists: Eccentric Breaks & Beats

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Various Artists: <em>Eccentric Breaks & Beats</em>

Sampled soul collection could be weirder

When Numero Group stumbled on a bootleg megamix composed of two 20-minute patchworks of breaks, loops and vocal fragments gleaned from the label’s masterful Eccentric Soul collections, it didn’t balk.

Instead, Numero tracked down the culprits—the production team Shoes—and released their technically-illegal mashup itself. Unfortunately, the mixes aren’t quite as curious as the backstory. Too often, the same beats repeat for so uncomfortably long that any new sound is a welcome change. (Though the source material abounds with words and melodies, the only vocals to be found exist in single phrases or solitary moans.) Ultimately, Breaks & Beats splices and overlays the gritty, compelling sounds that define so many Eccentric Soul albums and stitches them back together with about as much skill as a Project Runway reject. The album lays the foundation for what could be a masterfully sampled hip-hop record, but is crying out for the tight rhymes that would complete it.