I want to talk about my initiation into electronic music. It really centers around my brother who introduced me to The Prodigy. He must have been about sixteen years old and had started to poke his curious nose into the world. He went to a Blink 182 concert and bought a tape from a vendor there. That tape was The Prodigy’s 1997 album The Fat of the Land. He gave me this tape in the summer of 1999.
I had been swimming for several years already at this point and had grown pretty serious about the sport. Over the next couple years I would have some of the best swims of my swimming career as a ten year old, ranking thirteenth in the nation in my best event. I credit much of that success for the wild energy and imagination that The Fat of the Land gave me. I would listen to this weird tape my brother gave me and felt very, very cool. I remember riding with my parents to my championship meet in Springfield, MA and listening to that tape on my Sony Walkman. About this time, The Matrix came out featuring a track from that album, “Mindfields.” This did a great deal to solidify my feelings about The Prodigy and electronic music.
A piece of art as cool as The Matrix would have an effect on anybody, though. I mean, come on, an idea so spine tinglingly crazy, especially when we see neo getting some very harsh looking gear removed from him, and it has a bit of truth to it in a metaphorical sense? Genius and something that I was looking for in my life at that point, as a ten year old. I didn’t have a good grasp of why it was so cool, but I knew it was. The shocking, existential suggestion that all of our lives are a lie. That we are being harvested for energy by the machines they created. It’s an incredible idea and quite the fuel for a young kid fascinated with a more morbid and alternative life. And this was the kind of thing that was associated with my new selection in music — magical.
The throbbing, rhythmic collections of sounds and the minimalistic, building approach The Prodigy takes has had a profound impact on me. Through a great number of plays of their album, I’ve learned to appreciate their high energy, yet exacting approach to creating an amazing experience. I was actually hooked very early on and the energy of that music was a standard for everything in my future music palette. Their music has had an effect on the way I approach things in my life in regards to enthusiasm. Their minimalistic approach is a metaphor for how I’ve lived my life — focusing in on just a few things (sounds) at a time.
What got you into electronic music? Who got you into it and how did your passion grow? How do you feel it has changed you? Would love to hear from you. In the next posts I’ll be sharing some more flashbacks.