Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Prodigy-Experience/Experience Expanded

Originally Written and Posted at on 3/18/09.

When the British electronic music scene started to emerge from the late 80s after the dominance of synth-pop and the rise of the Manchester rave scene. It was clear that electronic music as well as various forms of it would start to emerge from the 1990s. One of the acts who would become the predominant act of the famed British electronic movement is the Prodigy. Formed in 1990 by musician Liam Howlett, the Prodigy was Howlett's brainchild as he formed the group with dancers Keith Flint and Leeroy Thornhill where in 1991, the band released a single to XL Recordings that became a hit in the rave circuits. After recruiting vocalist Maxim Reality, Howlett began work on what some considered to be a landmark in the British rave scene entitled Experience.

Written, produced, and performed by Liam Howlett, Experience is an album of frenetic techno and rave music with sprawling arrangements of pulsating beats, shimmering synthesizer notes, and tempos that range from various genres of electronic music to even dabbles of reggae. Featuring contributions from vocalist Maxim Reality and Simone, the album is mostly an instrumental record of sorts that serves as a soundtrack to the rave clubs of the 1990s. The result is a fascinating yet hypnotic debut album from Liam Howlett and his cohorts in the Prodigy.

The album opens with the single Jericho with its layers of frenetic, siren-like synthesizer sounds, pulsating beats, and blaring horn sounds. With wavy synthesizer lines following, it's a track that is led by its frenetic, pulsating rave beats and arrangements filled speedy vocals and even faster synthesizer melodies. Music Reach (1/2/3/4) is a track that continues the speedy, pulsating beats with more thumping bass beats and shimmering, wailing synthesizers as it features Simone singing throughout. Yet, it's dominated by layers of hypnotic synthesizers, sequencers, and beats as it features distorted, ludicrous-speed vocals. Wind It Up is a rave-inspired track that features a fast, melodic piano track and reggae-like vocals that is accompanied by furious, pulsating beats, and scratchy electronic backgrounds. With its throbbing yet intense presentation, it's a track that is perfect for a rave party with its melodic, reggae breaks.

A remix of Your Love opens with a speedy, high-pitch synthesizer solo that is scratchy along with running vocals and another vocal on top of it. With its frenetic beats and melodic piano flourishes, it's a track that is features siren-like keyboards and wailing, rhythmic vocals that plays up to the track's intensity. Hyperspeed (G-Force Part 2) starts with radio commentary and distortion as it goes into an intense, pulsating track of heavy big beats with breaks of smooth, wailing synthesizers, speedy vocals, and soft, pulsating beats. Going back to its heavy, fast big beats arrangement, it's a track that is intense yet undeniably hypnotic. Charly (Trip Into Drum And Bass Version) is a track featuring speedy, metallic beats and throbbing bass lines along with scratchy vocals. Along with melodic, fuzz-driven synthesizer tracks and frenetic arrangements, it's a track that explores the drum n' bass sub genre along with big beats and various electronic music styles.

The single Out Of Space is a reggae-inspired track featuring a sample of I Chase The Devil by Max Romeo along with a sample of the Ultramagnetic MCs track Critical Beatdown. With an intro of soothing synthesizers with melodic keyboard flourishes and scratchy beats, it's a track that features speedy vocals and bumping beats that plays through the frenetic track. Then it becomes a smooth, reggae track with various noises that returns to its frenetic presentation and moving it back and forth. Everybody In The Place (155 And Rising) is a track with hollow, melodic-swinging beats that pulsate through the entire track as it speeds up with blaring synthesizer tracks and shimmering beats that drive through the entire track along with speedy vocals. The eight-minute Weather Experience begins with a person talking about the weather on the news with haunting synthesizer tracks that becomes more sweeping in its arrangement. With its bass-heavy synthesizer distortion comes this thumping, heavy beat arrangement that plays through as it's one of the album's most haunting cuts which includes a slow bridge and sounds of thunderstorms.

The B-side single Fire (Sunrise Version) opens with a striking synthesizer track with reggae-like rhythms that is accompanied by pulsating, punchy beats and blaring vocals. Along with a melodic piano flourish in the background, it features a reggae break of speedy vocals and thumping beats with blaring synthesizer melodies. Ruff In The Jungle Bizness features speedy, scratchy vocals from Maxim Reality as it becomes this hypnotic track of melodic keyboard flourishes with pulsating, thumping beats that plays through in this jungle-inspired track which includes vocals from Simone. The album closer is a live version of Death Of The Prodigy Dancers opens with bumping bass beats and Maxim's growling vocals as it goes into this frenetic, intense track of scratchy electronics and pulsating beats. With blaring synthesizers that plays throughout, it's Maxim that drives the tracks on the vocals with whistles as it plays through its frenetic arrangements and intense performance.

From the 2001 Experience Expanded U.S. edition of the album are eleven extra tracks filled with B-sides and remixes. The first is the original version of Your Love with its upbeat, melodic piano flourishes with warbling, thumping electronic arrangements and speedy, tapping beats. With vocals playing throughout the track along with sliding guitar riffs that pop up every now and then, it maintains its hypnotic, frenetic presentation. Ruff In The Jungle Bizness (Uplifting Vibes Remix) features more striking piano melodies and frenetic beats that are more thumping in its pulsating arrangements. With its fuzzy, siren-like synthesizer tracks, it's a remix that's more intense in its presentation while adding more synthesizer layers to its track. Charly (Cat Alley Remix) is a track that features a slower yet mid-tempo rhythm with tapping beats and wailing synthesizers that play through the track. Along with an accompanying bass track and pulsating beats in the background, it features striking keyboard flourishes in the background and a squealing vocals.

An edited version of Fire includes blaring synthesizer sirens and intense, frenetic, and heavy beats that features driving keyboards that plays up to its arrangements. Along with reggae-like vocals that are sped up, it's an intense yet heavy track featuring big beats and driving rhythms. We Are The Ruffest is a remix of Ruff In The Jungle Bizness with bass-droning synthesizers, soft pulsating beats, and raga-inspired vocals. Then going into intense, thumping, and fast beats, it features speedy vocals and blaring synthesizers as it maintains its fast presentation. Weather Experience (Top Buzz Remix) features a shimmering, hi-hat cymbal track with thumping bass beats. With tapping beats playing along, it slows down into this somber yet melodic section of keyboards and soothing synthesizers with beats returning to accompany it in this moody yet pulsating remix. Wind It Up (Rewound) is a remix with speedier vocals and intense, fast tribal beats that get scratchier along with a melodic piano flourish that plays up to its tempo. With its reggae vocals still intact, it maintains its frenetic presentation of tribal beats and piano flourishes.

G-Force Pt. 1 (Energy Flow) begins with a soothing yet loud synthesizer track with blaring, horn-like sounds that includes intense, bass-heavy synthesizer tracks that play through. With its thumping, pulsating beats filled with layers of tapping beats underneath, the track includes speedy vocals and throbbing rhythms accompanied by striking synthesizers and piano flourishes for this superb rave track. Crazy Man is a track with bass-droning synthesizers, clapping beats, and blaring synthesizers that warble through the track. With the beats intensifying and getting faster, it's a track plays up to its rave atmosphere.

Out Of Space (Techno Underworld Remix) is a dub-inspired mix due to its reggae-like presentation and vocals as it warbles through with its speedy, droning tracks of beats and synthesizers. With thumping bass beats and soothing sections of melodic synthesizer flourishes, it's a track is filled with layers and sections that is wonderfully crafted in its remix. The closing track of the expanded version of the album is Everybody In The Place (Fairground Remix). With its blaring, droning synthesizers and frenetic, thumping beats, it's a remix that is more intense with speedy vocals and synthesizer sirens during the middle of the track. With scratchy synthesizers and intense beats, it's a fitting closer to the expanded version of the album.

Released in the fall of 1992, the album was considered to be a landmark in the burgeoning British electronic music scene. The record received critical acclaim as well as being a huge hit in the U.K. rave circuits while being an underground hit in the rising American rave scene. Along with singles that included remixes and B-sides, it was the that the Prodigy were helping the electronic movement gain attention just as Britain was about to take force with its indie scene. Yet despite its success, Britain was trying to create anti-rave laws along with changing movements that would inspire the Prodigy for their next album two years later.

Experience is an excellent from Liam Howlett and company that truly is one of the most fascinating albums of the 1990s electronic music scene. While it's not perfect and at times, musically repetitive. It's an album that serves as worthy soundtrack to the rave scene of the 1990s while being a great album for rave parties and such. Fans of the Prodigy will no doubt consider this as one of their essential with the material from its expanded version even though it's been in various singles from that record. In the end, for frenetic, intense music that will keep people dancing and having a good time. The Prodigy's Experience is the record to get.

(C) thevoid99 2011

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