One of the most thrilling records of the 90s, The Prodigy’s third studio album, The Fat Of The Land, pretty much redefined dance music with its blend of break-beat, punk, electro, rock and techno whilst Keith Flint’s psychotic clown look gave an identity to a genre which was previously renowned for being completely faceless.
A number one in both the UK and the US, it remains as vibrant and exciting now as it did back in 1997, which might explain why so few have opted to take on the challenge of remixing its most iconic tracks for a special 15th anniversary edition. Indeed, while 1992’s Experience and 1994’s Music For The Jilted Generation featured a whole disc’s worth of re-workings with their bonus re-releases, only six extra tracks appear alongside the original ten here.
Considering just how lazy these new remixes are, it’s perhaps a blessing in disguise. Dutch electronic trio Noisia and Major Lazer both appear terrified to do anything at all on their respective versions of “Smack My Bitch Up,” the former taking 60 seconds to begin their monstrous dubstep makeover, the latter twice as long to substitute its propulsive beats for some rather weedy synth-snares.
Baauer’s phoned-in remix of “Mindfields,” The Prodigy’s pre-dubstep slab of dubstep that was recorded when Skrillex was still in elementary school, isn’t much more inventive either; likewise The Glitch Mob’s chopped-up slow-motion retooling of “Breathe” and Alvin Risk’s old-school version of “Firestarter,” which unforgivably trades the original’s electrifying guitar riffs for some generic ravey synths.
The innovation of The Fat Of The Land is only ever really recaptured on Zeds Dead remix of “Breathe,” which intersperses Flint’s snarling vocals and some ubiquitous filthy bass-lines with bursts of squelchy robotic electro more synonymous with Daft Punk than punk rock.
Of course, by refusing to stray too far from the source material, none of the remixes on The Prodigy’s The Fat Of The Land (Expanded Edition) can be accused of sacrilege. But for such an important album, it’s disappointing at just how lacklustre its new additions are.