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_ 1 In yer face
With three Top Ten singles to their credit, The Prodigy are techno’s towering titans. ‘It’s pretty rough and raw’, Essex wonderkid Liam I Howlett tells Craig McLean. I
Complex stuff, this techno. A cursory glance up and down the charts — the forum where most people hear most of their techno — gives no real clues as to the knack and knowledge required to 1 make the stuff. In the Top 40 playpen techno is ' debased, gimmicky, cobbled together from a few basic technological building blocks and the theme I from Captain Pugwash. Out in the real world,
where techno is the beat to which a new(ish) youth " we I ’
underground pulses, the sounds are a heady welding of the ﬁnite practicalities of synthesiser science and the unfettered latitudes of the all-important raving vibe.
Heavy stuff, this techno. Take The Prodigy, for instance, techno overlords. There’s Liam, ‘highly skilled in the science of harmonious sounds’; Leroy, ‘very high in stature, has the appearance of a hybridisation of man and machine’; Maximum Reality (real name something else), ‘rapid orator with excellent ortheopy and enormous verbosity’; and there’s Keith, ‘master of footwork, creator of manic velocity body movements and techniques’. Yes, The Prodigy take drugs. Probably.
Narcotic stuff, this techno. It brow-beats you into submission, comes bludgeoning out of the speakers. When the speakers are in your bedroom, and its The Prodigy’s Experience album that’s coming at you, resistance is useless. This is a HUGE record, a rigorous assault course of | epileptic beats, a fevered approximation of that more innocent and catch-all term, ‘dance music’.
‘In a way it’s like a scope of dance music, the album,’ says the harmonious sounds man (that’s l Liam). ‘It’s like a wide . . . what you’ve got to remember, it’s all sorta pretty tough, it’s pretty rough and raw, each track is trying to do ! something a bit different. For example, “Horns Of Jericho”, that’s yer rough end of the warehouse sound of a tune. At the other end is an ambient track, “Weather Experience”. I’ve got piano songs on there, I’ve got a few ragga songs, a few techno songs. Hopefully it’s quite a nice mixture of , musnc.’
Funny stuff, this techno. The Prodigy are masters of ﬂexibility in a scene where rigidity is the norm. The ravers know what they like, and the teeming mass of techno acts give them it. Liberated, in the Thatcherite sense, by the n availability of the gear and the know-how, all sorts of dire dirges are being pumped out. Liam - he (remember) of the prodigious 21-year-old talents —
LISTINGS: GLASGOW 61 EDINBUR '
knows the score, and it’s practically a goalless draw— which most Top Of The Pops viewers knew anyway.
‘In recent months it’s become so easy to write techno music because of the technology. You could go out and spend 400 quid on some equipment, go home, knock out a couple ofsongs. put out a white label, and make some money. But there’s so many records out with the same old samples on. . .’
‘You could go out and spend 400 quid on some equipment, go home, knock out a couple of songs, put out a white label, and make some money.’
Perverse stuff, this tecr no. At least for The Prodigy it is. They were the first to (ab)use a fond-remembered, iconic kiddies telly tune.
‘As soon as “Charly” got in the charts I knew I‘d never write another record like it again. A record like that is a one-off.’
Ifonly the rest of the techno scene was as perceptive. (By the way, if any shysters after a quick buck are reading, I own the rights to the Bagpuss tune, and will readily ﬂog them.) Anyway, The Prodigy moved on. With ‘Everybody In The Place’ they came within an inch
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The Prodigy— ‘maslers olllexlbllityina scene where rlgldlty ls the norm'
ofelevating techno to the pantheon of pop legend. Only Freddie M‘s funeral oration. ‘Bohemian Travesty‘. prevented The Prodigy‘s third single becoming techno‘s first Number One. Most recently, they resurrected The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown from the mire ofloony 60s pyschedelia, and sent ‘ire‘ scorching (ha!) across the airwaves. These singles. and the big daddy album. mark the end of Phase One for The Prodigy.
‘When we kick in with the brand new material in the new year we’re gonna steer away from the . . .
well. we're just gonna go deeper into one, sorta
like field, either techno or in the progressive
scene. Don‘t know yet. Just got to think about it.‘ Vague stuff, this techno. ‘As this end of the
‘ raving year comes to an end, it's gonna be pretty
much in the style we‘ve taken it. which is pretty in-yer-face type of thing. You‘ve got this SLAMMING beat which SLAMS in yer face. then a different section comes in. then it‘s back to that section, rather than the trancey style.‘
Hungry stuff, this techno. ‘I‘m just around at my mum’s house for my dinner,‘ says Liam Howlett. ‘Could you phone back in about an hour‘?’ Even scientists of harmonious sounds. masters of mindmelting technofrenzy, have to bow to their maw and eat their tea.
The Prodigyplay Barrowland, Glasgow on Sat3]. Experience is outnow.
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October- 5 November 1992.59