The Prodigy

: 2/3

Breathe: Firestarter was followed by an even bigger success, Breathe, quickly selling 700,000 copies all over the world. Now it was obvious that the Prodigy were changing again, which eventualy led to their commercialized style that so many people hyped and so many cursed. However, their music (and lyrics) had become much more rebellious: the next single, Smack My Bitch Up, is a good example of this, whose video has been banned on several TV stations.

7 million copies: Their 3rd full-length album, The Fat Of The Land, released in the middle of 1997, was an international success, going straight #1 in 22 countries, including the US, and becoming a double-platinum album (it sold more than 7 million copies worldwide).

Dirtchamber: The first commercially released Prodigy material since Smack My Bitch Up, the Liam Howlett mix album Dirtchamber Sessions Volume 1 is yet another excellent work despite that it wasnt that successful as the previous albums.

1998-1999: Having evolved into one of the greatest live bands in Europe (and maybe in the world), and having released many astounding records, they spent most of these two years relaxing and spending some time on their own. They had some gigs together, but the most important developments were the Liams live DJ performances, Maxims solo single titled My Web and Leeroys remix of Dr. Doooms Leave Me Alone.

The Future: A new Prodigy single and Maxims solo album are promised to be released in 2000, but the dates are uncertain. A new Prodigy album is expected in 2001, but that release isnt certain, either.

The 1980/90s Dance Culture

(Excerpt from the book Exit The Underground)

In 1988, it took Britain a matter of months to succumb to Acid House. In retrospect, it is easy to understand why. For several years, American musicians had been experimenting with new forms of music such as Rap and Hip-Hop. In comparison, British bands seemed soft and safe. Their obsession with making money dictated that they be both easy on the ear and the eye in order to appeal to audiences across the board. Like punk in the late 1970s, Acid House became a badge of identity for a small selection of British youth. Through drugs, clubs, clothes, haircuts and its very own vocabulary, House created a sub-culture that not only served as newfound common ground, but also alienated, even offended outsiders.

Unlike punk, however, House survived its honeymoon period. The reason was simply that the music itself progressed to accommodate the changing, increasingly sophisticated tastes of its audience. In fact, today cutting-edge dance music with its rock, Dub, Hip-Hop and heavy metal influences bares scant resemblance to its melodic House origins.

Dozens of DJs, artists and record labels can claim to have played their part in the evolution of 1990s dance culture. Only one band, however, has stayed ahead of each new trend. Since forming in the rave days of 1990, Essex-based The Prodigy have mixed up musical styles, absorbed myriad influences and experimented with new technology in order to keep dance music on the move. More than any other artist, they have proved that dance acts can compete with conventional rock bands both in terms of album sales and live shows.

What was actually Acid House on a massive scale, raves took off in the UK at the end of the 1980s. Huge illegal warehouse parties and outdoor gatherings attracting tens of thousands of people turned a rapidly growing number of the countrys youth on to a new form of music played entirely by machines. Acid House was a relentless, minimalist, manic offshoot of the House and Techno scenes that had developed in the North American cities of Chicago and Detroit. With a name thought to have originated from the group Phutures Acid Track single of 1987, Acid House was characterised by hypnotic rhyths, offbeat soundscapes and weird sample. To intensify the musics mind-altering frequencies, the melodies central to American House were omitted. Acid was more extreme, almost alien. The beats were impossibly fast far too fast ever to be recreated by real musicians and the sounds were certainly not human.

The explosion in awareness, production and consumption of the chemical MDMA ie the recreational drug Ecstasy that that happened at the same time as Acid House was no coincidence. The incessant, repetitive beat of the man-made music helped Ecstasy users to maintain both their energy levels and a trance-like state in which they could dance non-stop for hours on end. The loved-up, hedonistic Ecstasy experience led the rave scene to adopt a recycled Hippie mantra from the 1960s. 1988 became known as the Second Summer of Love, smiley T-shirts and baggy jeans became street fashion and alcohol waas snubbed in favour of high-energy, non-alcoholic herbal and caffeine cocktails.

: 16/09/2006