The Chemical Brothers

The Chemical Brothers - Exit Planet Dustthe fellows

The Chemical Brothers are a techno staple from Manchester England.  Their music has come to embody the  standard sound of the techno music scene.  Not so much for the industry itself but for others looking to get that “sound”.  For example whenever you’re watching a cheesy tv show and the characters walk into a youth-dance-club type atmosphere chances are The Chemical Brothers were selected for the back drop of that scene.  I recall hearing them in multiple television shows and movies over the years most notably a later episode of 90210.  This isn’t to the band’s detriment though and I’m not downplaying their music.  I’m only trying to show how influential it has become that it has crept into so many other media outlets that even if you are not familiar with The Chemical Brothers themselves you’ll proly know some of their songs when you hear them.

The Chemical Brothers mostly employ standard methods for creating their electronic music, various forms of samples, traditional DJ spinning/scratching, etc.  For me one of the areas that sets them apart is their use of guest vocalists on quite a few tracts.  Their ability to put together a track tailored to benefit from the human voice produces very powerful results.  Examples of this can be found on most of their albums.

The Chemical Brothers started out as two friend’s from Manchester and really hasn’t progressed much beyond that.  They’ve had dozens of various contributors of different types over the years but the group is still comprised of just the two fellows, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons.  Early on they were scorned by some high falootin entertainers but they persevered and perfected their trade.  Now the tables are turned and in recent times some very big names have been clambering for The Chemical Brothers to remix them and been denied.

A list of The Chemical Brothers major releases goes a little something like this (my personal fave is Dig Your Own Hole)…

1) Exit Planet Dust (1995)
2) Dig Your Own Hole (1997)
3) Surrender (1999)
4) Come with Us (2002)
5) Push the Button (2005)
6) We Are the Night (2007)

4 comments to The Chemical Brothers

  •  potato

    Block Rockin’ Beats along with Underworld’s album ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’ are responsible for my love of good electronic music. I bought the cd single with the grenade on the front and played it on repeat for weeks.

  • Jay jay

    Ahh so your fave is Dig Your Own Hole too! I’m gonna have to check out that Underworld album. My exposure to them is very limited.

  •  potato

    Actually Surrender is my favorite album by the Chemmies particularly the trifecta of Let Forever Be, The Sunshine Underground and Asleep From Day. As you noted, the guest appearances really elevate these tracks: Let Forever Be/Gallagher brother from Oasis on drums, Asleep From Day/Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star on vocals. I really love her voice. It somehow matches perfectly with eletronica bands and almost forces you to listen to the music more closely if that even makes sense. The Chems always seemed to understand this and made some very smart choices when it came to guest vocals or instrumentals. So Surrender will always be my favorite even though I think Dig/Hole is an overall more creative and possibly better album.

    Hope also sings on two great tracks by Death in Vegas: Killing Smile, Help Yourself. Both of those tracks are on the album Scoprio Rising. Killing Smile is one of my favorite songs and its one I’d deem ‘perfect’. Its a very mellow, laid-back track but for what it is, I don’t think it could be done any better. Help Yourself is more of a slow-creeper. It starts out slow and simple and builds into something pretty great at the end.

    Side note, the video for Let Forever Be is outstanding.

  • Jay jay

    I’ve listened to Surrender a bunch of times but none of the songs have really rung out but now that you offer your insight they seem to have opened up. These songs are so great you can listen to them repeatedly. Another song of note for me is Piku on Dig Your Own Hole. For some reason I can picture it in a fashion show as the models strut their stuff, it’s slick.

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