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POP MUSIC

Record Rack

June 24, 2001|STEVE BALTIN

* * 1/2

PRODIGY

"Experience: Expanded"

XL

Remix collections from electronic acts may appear cutting-edge because most of the material is previously unheard or difficult to find, but actually they are the electronic world's answer to rock's greatest-hits albums. Case in point: this double-disc set from electronic superstars Prodigy.

The disc titled "Experience" is the English quartet's 1992 debut album, which has been completely remastered, while "Expanded" is an 11-track set including remixes and three hard-to-find B sides.

Despite the remastering, "Experience," which was hailed for its innovation upon its release, sounds dated at times because of the heavy use of synthesizers. However, the enigmatic quality of the disc remains intact. Inspired at times, as on the hip-hop-based "Hyperspeed," "Experience" can also be downright amateurish (the pretentious, childlike "Fire").

The remixes on "Expanded," which maintain the genre-splicing experimentation of their "Experience" counterparts, are often easier to listen to than the originals. The techno-flavored remix of "Ruff in the Jungle Bizness" gets to its inviting female vocals much earlier in the track.

This is an obvious ploy to generate buzz for the first new Prodigy album in four years, expected later this year. But there are enough worthwhile moments between the two discs to make this more than a gimmick.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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