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Liam Howlett

international news _ JONTY SKRUFFF _ 16th Decemober, 2005

Twisted Firestarter's ELO Obsession

Prodigy mainman Liam Howlett unveiled details of his eagerly anticipated Back To Mine compilation this week and robustly defended his decidedly eclectic track selection which includes The Stranglers, the Jam and Electric Light Orchestra's 70s soft rock shocker Living Thing.

"The idea that a Back To Mine compilation should be mellow makes me laugh," said Liam, "Surely the fun begins when you get home. Sometimes it's so good I don't bother going out. Diversity is the key for me, that's just what I'm about."

The compilation includes Public Image's Rise, The Third Bardo's 60s Pebbles classic 'I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time' and Max Romeo's reggae standard I Chase The Devil as well as Dolly Parton's biggest hit Jolene (once covered by Sisters Of Mercy, curiously enough).

"In a time when a lot of modern music is bass obsessed (including me) this record has none," he continued.

"When I played it at a party round mine, her voice just sounded so pure that it just soared above everything else. Everybody was asking me what the fuck it was. I just said it was a great record. Didn't want to scare them off!" he added.

Notably absent from the collection are dance anthems, which might surprise finger on the pulse Guardian journalist Betty Clarke who this week praised the Prodigy for bringing 'scorching nihilism to pop music' while virtually single-handedly inventing rave culture.

"If dance music is dead, nobody told the Prodigy," she declared, in a review of their live show at Brixton Academy.

"Architects of a scene so feared laws were made to try and stop it, the Prodigy are the sole survivors of dance culture's first assault on the public consciousness," she mused,

"But the days of raves and superstar DJs are gone. The Prodigy shouldn't be here, playing the first of five sold-out nights- and they shouldn't be this good."

Liam Howlett: Back To Mine is out on DMC Records on January 30. (Jonty Skrufff)

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