You'll all know Liam Howlett as the brains behind the Prodigy, but
he's also always harboured a certain affinity for diverse, hip
hop/punk crossover DJ sets. 'The Dirtchamber Sessions' is his first
mainstream foray into the world he loves so well and, to cut a long
story short, it works.
You'd think that over 50 tracks in a 50-minute mix might be a bit
jumpy, especially when Howlett cuts from The Chemical Brothers to the
Beastie Boys, to the Charlatans and the Sex Pistols with so much
frequency, but surprisingly, it's lucid and continuous.
In 50 minutes, though, it flashes through too many musical styles to
ever be start-to-finish appealing. Hip hop heads will like the b-boys
and old skool stuff, Fatboy Slim and the Chemical Brothers will appeal
to the dance fans. And there's also some Jane's Addiction, some Primal
Scream, some Public Enemy and more or less a bit of something for
Unfortunately, there's no segment longer than 15 minutes that'll
appeal to one particular fan. And that's where this record loses the
plot. Diversity is all well and good, but Liam Howlett is indulging
his own personal tastes ... and the record suffers because of it. A
daring achievement and the work of a pro: but those traits never made
it without an element of mass appeal.
by Michael Gleeson