The Prodigy are one of the most popular electronic music acts in the world today, and though the peak of popularity was in 1997 with the release of The Fat Of The Land
Liam Howlett and co's project still enjoys a massive cult fanbase that will follow them to the bitter end. Indeed, many claim their post-FOTL material such as Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned
and Invaders Must Die
are completely disposable and have already signalled this, but it doesn't matter to those who still have fond memories of discovering The Prodigy's work for the first time. The groups debut release Experience
brings us back to the dim, dead days of 1992 or perhaps that is not an good description. How about the explosive, energetic days of 1992? That's much more appropriate.
Many who are only vaguely familiar with The Prodigy regard The Fat of The Land
as the only album worth bothering with, and the abrasive industrial-electro cum hard trance whatever the hell they were skirting with at the time as the signature sound of the group. The truth of the matter is the group had been releasing hardcore electronic releases since the late 80's, several EP's such as What Evil Lurks
gained popularity and became firmly entrenched in the drug fueled British rave scene at the time. Experience
would appear to be a culmination of those days, and is a frenetic, energetic mind*** that does not let go.
This album would come to define the hardcore electronic music style which other acts such as SL2 and Acen were making at the time. Fast, upbeat, driven by repetitive old school synths and breakbeats, the energy of this era of rave music is almost unparalelled. Tracks such as Music Reach [1/2/3/4]
, Wind It Up
, Your Love
, Everybody In The Place
and Ruff In The Jungle
sound incredibly fresh with their focus on piano rhythms and intricate electronic arrangements despite the archaic production, but even so something about the old school digital gloss to it all has a quality I can only describe as the audio equivalent of pixel art. The string samples weaving around all this blockiness give the music a heavenly, ethereal quality and the albums most popular track Out Of Space
is the best example of this (I'll take your brain to another dimension!
). With its focus on sparse basslines and percussion, Charly [Trip Into Drum And Bass Version]
is unique as far as the album goes, but it is Weather Experience
which is the real standout. It is a lengthy ambient track that takes it's time building up from the beginning with strings, hammer noises, and samples of British weathermen which ultimately explodes into a similar tone as the rest of the album. Despite being a little bit different, it's all gravy. Every track sits nicely alongside each other.
is definitive of the first era of The Prodigy, that is The Prodigy of the early 90's hardcore electronica scene. It is a frenetic, upbeat affair which is nothing like what they would sound like on Fat Of The Land
, nor should it be. Being on drugs back in 1992 hearing this for the first time, now that would be an experience. Not of the pharmaceutical kind.