Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole
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Chemical Brothers
Dig Your Own Hole

While their Exit Planet Dust album put them on the musical map, this is the release that made the Chemical Brothers a household name in the electronic music genre. Released just as AMP was hitting the airwaves on MTV and also around nearly the same time that Prodigy released Fat Of The Land, it not only established Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons as big time names in the scene, but also helped out the whole scene immensely as well (and helped pave the way for big albums like Fatboy Slim's You've Come A Long Way Baby).

One thing about the Chemical Brothers is that although they've always found themselves lumped into the "big beat" category by many people, they really do manage to do a lot more than what some of the other big-beat groups are doing. While their Loops Of Fury release was more of a dancefloor pounder, on Dig Your Own Hole they've again wisely offset the dancier tracks with ones that have a bit more texture and have again experimented with different vocalists and instrumentation.

All that may not make itself abundantley clear as of the first few tracks on the disc, however, as the duo come out of the gate charging full-speed ahead. By now, everyone is familiar with the funky bassline and Schooly D sample in "Block Rockin' Beats," but the very next track on the album (the album titled "Dig Your Own Hole") doesn't slow things up one bit and again works a wacked-out bassline over a totally thumping beat. Again going to the old-school rappers, the duo drops a sample of Kool Herc to open up "Elektro Bank" and after kind of a meandering intro, things start cranking again with a fuzzed-out bassline sound (again) and stereophonic squiggles galore. It's almost like the first three tracks are all variations on a theme, but they change up just enough to keep things interesting and fresh.

From there, the group wisely changes things up a bit and moves into the stutter-stepping beat of "Piku," their grinding collaboration with Noel Gallagher of Oasis ("Setting Sun") and the almost novelty sounding sample chop-shop of "It Doesn't Matter." It's the last three songs on the album, though, that really show the group playing with some different ideas, and they run as almost the exact opposite of the three slamming tracks that started out the release. On "Lost In The K-Hole," the group starts to trip things out a bit with some rather shimmering sounds over a lighter beat, while they again enlist the help of Beth Orton and her beautiful vocals on the perfect electronic morning song of "Where Do I Begin." Things close out with the epic, aptly titled "The Private Psychadelic Reel" on which they collaborate with Mercury Rev for almost a middle-Eastern sound of spacey guitars and droney feedback to lay over subdued beats.

Overall, it's a solid follow-up album for the group and one that's also quite varied again. While things start off on a rather ballistic note, they calm down a bit towards the middle of the album and almost completely trip out near the end. It's almost a completely logical progression from one end of the release to the other, getting your body grooving to begin with, then chilling you out a bit in the middle before winding you down at the end. Solid.

rating: 7.7510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00