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Prodigy's Liam Howlett Wrapping Up DJ-Mix Album

Turntable-styled album from leader of British electronica group to feature samples by Beastie Boys, Barry White.

Fans thirsting for new music from the Prodigy will get an appetizer next year when the

electronica group's mastermind, Liam Howlett, releases his first DJ mix album, The

Dirtchamber Sessions Volume 1.

Although a release date has not yet been set, the hour-long album will feature more than

50 tracks of material mixed by Howlett -- everything from snippets of music by punk

hip-hoppers the Beastie Boys and soul-legend Barry White to samples of old-school

hip-hop, according to a spokesman for XL Recordings, the Prodigy's U.K. label.

"It will be really chopped up and have loads of different records in there," said XL's Chris

Sharp of the in-process album.

He explained that the release will be in the tradition of albums by such turntable wizards

as part-time Beastie Boys-DJ Mixmaster Mike of the Northern California disk-jockey

collective, the Invisibl Skratch Piklz. The mix album also will feature a few bits of some

Prodigy material, "cheekily dropped" into the mix, such as

href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-

music/Prodigy/Poison.ram">"Poison" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Smack My Bitch

Up," Sharp said.

"It will be a proper beat-mix record," Sharp continued, "with some really obscure hip-hop

from 1984, funky breaks, rare grooves, bits of rock music and break-beat records."

It is expected that the album will come out under the Prodigy name.

Sharp said the album was inspired by a radio gig Howlett had last month on Britain's

national pop station, Radio 1. The late-night show, hosted by Mary-Anne Hobbs, features

a midnight segment entitled the "Breeze Block," which has invited the likes of British

hip-hoppers Monkey Mafia and former Spacemen 3 member Sonic Boom to stop by and

help program a half-hour of freestyle radio.

The album's release currently is being held up by what Sharp said was the laborious

process of rights clearance involving the hundreds of samples that will make up most of

the album.

"We're going through the process of getting the rights tracked down," Sharp said. "And,

in the case of some of these break-beat records, they're always of slightly uncertain

provenance. You try to find where they got the break in the first place, and it could be

[from] some '60s easy-listening album, so you have to track down that person

first."

In addition to the Beastie Boys and Barry White, other artists have already given consent

to have their music sampled on the collection, said Sharp. They include rap-legends

Public Enemy; industrial-rock pioneers Meat Beat Manifesto; the Prodigy's fellow British

electronica stars, the Chemical Brothers; and New York hip-hop trailblazers the

Ultramagnetic MCs, whose 1988 song, "Give the Drummer Some," was the source for

the vocal sample in the Prodigy's controversial hit recording,

href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-

music/Prodigy/Smack_My_Bitch_Up.ram">"Smack My Bitch Up" (RealAudio

excerpt).

A spokesperson for the Prodigy's U.S. label, Maverick Records (co-founded by

dance-pop diva Madonna), said the company had not yet heard of any plans for the

album. "Liam is his own person, and he does what he does," label-publicist Heidi

Robinson said. "As far as we know, what he's working on is the new Prodigy record."

The Chemical Brothers released a similar DJ album in September called Brothers

Gonna Work It Out, which included a continuous mix of their own work, as well as

remixes of songs by the Manic Street Preachers and Spiritualized.

Meanwhile, Prodigy dancer/MC Maxim Reality (born Keeti Palmer) will release his solo

debut, tentatively titled Hell's Kitchen, in mid-1999. The album -- to be written and

co-produced by Reality -- will feature collaborations with hip-hoppers Guru, DJ Premier,

Poetic and Diamond J.

As for a proper new Prodigy album, Sharp quipped, "Wouldn't it be great if there was one

on the way?"

Current plans call for Howlett to be in the studio sometime before the new year to work

on an album that would be released next summer at the earliest, Sharp said.

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