Liam Prodigy / Various Back to Mine

There’s no denying the importance of the Prodigy in the ’90s dance/electronic scene. They were arguably the reason why the terms "electronica” and "big beat” were coined and with a colourful cast of characters always jumping around, they had everything going for them. Though Liam Howlett’s solo comeback as the Prodigy in 2004 with Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned was a lacklustre affair, a shot at compiling the essence of the Prodigy with a Back to Mine collection seems like a sure thing. Howlett’s mix is a predictable representation of his influences, which therein lays the problem: he drops few surprises. There’s not much here that even the casual fan couldn’t expect: Public Enemy, Meat Beat Manifesto, the Specials, N.O.R.E., and even Dolly Parton seems like a probable choice. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few rough gems dusted off; the Third Bardo’s "I’m 5 Years Ahead” (which Primal Scream have covered) is a nice touch, and Wood Allen’s "Airport ’89” shows its influence on the man. However, with the exception of Howlett’s classic remix of Method Man’s kickin’ "Release Yo Delf,” this mostly proves to be just another sign that the name "Prodigy” is something best left to ’90s-related nostalgia. (DMC)