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Album Cover The Dirtchamber Sessions Volume 1 (mixed by Liam Howlett) (XL)

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 everybody.

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