The Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole (1997)

The Chemical Brothers are brilliant. After their first and solid album Exit Planet Dust, they sought to expand and explore their own sound further. This album has the name taken from some graffiti nearby their recording studio. It’s a good title for such an album.

The music itself is just amazing. It takes their mixture of rap, acid house, breakbeats, and general EDM spirit further than the previous offering. It sounds as though it was recorded in the 25th century, not the 20th century. And above all, it’s a classic of its type.

We hear an extended intro beginning which mixes into Block Rockin’ Beats. It’s an awesome club piece that still sounds fresh and mega today. With some expert samples in an original song, The Chemical Brothers are back and once again on top form. The bass part is very catchy.

Next up is the title track Dig Your Own Hole. It has a real bass guitar funky riff and shows off the duo’s mojo ability when it comes to making music. It has some karate like samples in the midsection and never gets boring.

Elektrobank follows and is the most catchy of all the songs on the album, which is no doubt why it is an extended piece. It samples DJ Kool Herc in the intro and poses the rap question: “Who is this doing this synthetic tape of alpha beta psychedelic funkin?” It is an underrated gem by the duo.

Piku arrives next and sounds like a true anthem for people in Japan to dance to. It’s a futuristic and psychedelic ride with a soulful sounding midsection which demands repeated listens. Just fantastic.

The hit song Setting Sun comes next featuring Noel Gallagher of Oasis on vocals. It’s a nod to Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles, in fact so much so that The Chemical Brothers were threatened with legal action from The Beatles for this recording. However, it’s an original piece. It’s very good, so much so that Noel himself regularly covered this song on the Oasis tours of the time acoustically. It’s so psychedelic and colourful this song that it’s a fantastic listen. Just don’t forget your 3D glasses as well.

The overlong It Doesn’t Matter follows and it’s really repetitive, but sits nicely in the album regardless. It’s designed for crazy dancing, not necessarily intellectual listening. Perhaps a rethink on this particular track would have worked.

Don’t Stop The Rock is a DJ sort of mix piece. It segues into the pieces before and after it. It’s okay, but not tremendously good.

Get Up On It Like This has some rather trippy and humourous samples throughout. It sounds rather weird but flows well all the same.

The following tune is Lost In The K-Hole which is a direct reference to Ketamine, a psychedelic drug used in EDM culture. It’s really superb and features some brilliant bass, cut-up vocal samples and a chilled sort of vibe. A great piece on the album.

The next song is rather nice to listen to. Beth Orten sings Where Do I Begin, a semi-acoustic and interesting piece in itself. It talks about the aftermath of a crazy night out and builds up and breaks into some banging beats. An excellent song.

The Private Psychedelic Reel is absolutely fantastic, and that’s an understatement. It blows away any crappy punk wannabe bands of the time and goes on for nine minutes. It’s never boring though, with a Sitar riff, soul touching sound effects and banging drum loops. It falls apart at the end once the track finishes, and the album concludes there.

The Chemical Brothers really excel here. This is their defining and best album. They blow away many of their competitors here with their sound, which is psychedelic, electronic and futuristic. If you like the sound of a very unique but fantastic and popular EDM album, be sure to check this album out. It’s not trashy like most EDM. Instead, it is a great fusion of EDM and art.

8/10