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The Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole (1997)

February 2, 2016

UK

exemplary artwork by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Made in the UK Artist #1: Duran Duran

Made in the UK Artist #2: The Charlatans

Made in the UK Artist #3: Elton John

Made in the UK Artist #4: Pet Shop Boys

Made in the UK Artist #5: Jim Dead & The Doubters

Made in the UK Artist #6: The Chemical Brothers

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[Album 447/1001]

Favourite line from Lord of the Rings (LOTR)?

Mine is delivered early on, courtesy of Bilbo Baggins.

And it lives on, in meme form!

29b5d860edacfd6104f7ca0b70c5bd61

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Now I know the LOTR films well, I like them (as well I should!), and I believe they are deserving of the praise they have received over the years.

I have no problem with the 9+ hour running time, I’m happy to immerse in that world and enjoy the ride.

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There are probably many who are thrilled to immerse in The Chemical Brothers 220px-Dig_your_own_hole_album_coverdiscography for similar time-frames.

While the running time of Dig Your Own Hole is about 8 hours shorter than the LOTR trilogy, it’s more than I need in one sitting (though I’m sure die hard fans may be clamoring for extended editions).

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Admittedly, there’s plenty of ignorance on my part, I’m well out of my element here.

Wikipedia classifies Dig Your Own Hole as a mix of ‘big beat, electronica, and psychedelia’ – when listening to such a genre mix, I feel a bit like Kimmy Schmidt in this scene:

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Which isn’t to say it was a miserable listening experience.

I really like the track Setting Sun (featuring Noel Gallagher), as I have for the last 19 years. There were a few similar tracks at the time (Econoline Crush’s Home comes to mind) that really appealed to me, combining conventional song structures with electronic instrumentation. It also doesn’t take a big beat/electronica/psychedelia expert to see some Setting Sun parallels with Tomorrow Never Knows.

However, what made Tomorrow Never Knows so special for me is that it sounded unlike anything else on Revolver (or anything really for the next 30 years!).

Due to the nature of loop-based music, the tracks tend to drift together here. Part of that is intentional, the continuous flow between CD tracks is a nice sequencing feature.

But also with loops, I don’t typically find going around and around terribly exciting, regardless of what gets added/removed each time.

As a result, not many of the tracks were standouts. Though I admire the craft, and there’s likely a lot more going on that I don’t fully appreciate, I don’t really enjoy the music as much as I feel I should.

Or put another way, even after repeated listens, I don’t know half of the tracks half as well as I should like.

And I probably like less than half of them half as much as they deserve.

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From → 1990s

32 Comments
  1. ianbalentine permalink

    I’ve always liked The Chemical Brothers, but I have never loved The Chemical Brothers. I like the debut (Exit Planet Dust) much better than this, the follow up, but I’m in the minority. I also think that this album is definitely of it’s time and hasn’t dated all that well.

    Also, LOVE the Bilbo reference! I get a bad cold once every year and I so look forward to it because it means I can sit in bed all day and watch all three Director’s cuts of the original trilogy back to back and not feel guilty about it!

    • Haha, I gather the back-to-back-to-back viewing is fine medicine! Exit Planet Dust is on the list as well, haven’t got to it yet. Also in the running for fave LOTR line, Shadowfax, show us the meaning of haste!

      • ianbalentine permalink

        So many wonderful lines from those movies. I have a large sales staff, and whenever they go out and ask what “bonus” is in it for them should they exceed their goals, I reply, “That will depend on the manner of your return.” They either don’t get it, or think I’m just a great big nerd. Either way, I love it!

      • I’m all for nerdiness – perhaps if they hit their sales targets, they could have an extra long break for elevensies!

  2. jprobichaud permalink

    Ah yes. Electronica. I remember that fad. There were some great albums that came out of the scene, and this was was one of them, but there was really only a specific time and place that they could be appreciated.

  3. I thought you were Elrond, but you turn out to be Sauron himself – I really like this one!

    • Or is it you that has become like Sarumon, tell me friend, when did 1537 the wise abandon reason for madness! 😉

      • (Another LOTR comeback at you, that I can’t quite work out right now)

  4. Oh man that’s my favourite line too!

  5. You did better than I would with this stuff, Geoff. I have a track or two of theirs on old CMJ compilations and I skip them every time. Block Rockin’ Beats? I don’t think so!

    Not my bag(gins) at all.

  6. Hackskeptic permalink

    Chemical Brothers were huge in the UK during the “big beat” period of the late 90s. I think the singles from this album are good (particularly Noel Gallagher’s contribution), but you’re right. Too much repetition makes a lot of it forgettable

    • I liked the Beth Orton track too, so perhaps guest vocalists are the secret to maximum CB enjoyment?

  7. Setting Suns is in my top ten favourite songs ever, but I agree that a whole album of that sort of stuff is too much. I couldn’t really get through last year’s album Born In The Echoes either.

    • A nice song choice – haven’t heard beyond this album yet, eventually I’ll get to Exit Planet Dust

  8. Mark me down as another fan of that wonderful line. When escaping a job back in the 90s I delivered it at my farewell afternoon tea. I treasure that moment.

  9. KIMMY! New season in April.

    Great post. Exactly how I feel. And good drawing the parallel with Tomorrow Never Knows. The Beatles anticipated this album by 30 years!

    • New Kimmy, nice!
      I’m not sure where they’ll go with it but Titus has to be one of the finer supporting characters in recent memory

      • I agree. Titus is brilliant. In general the show is one of those “too smart for TV” shows, like Arrested Development. My big hope is that Jon Hamm returns in season 2. And Tim Blake Nelson too.

      • And you know I approve of anything that can be compared to AD!
        I didn’t see Hamm coming as the Reverend, I should have recognized the voice. Tim Blake Nelson’s heroin scenes were painfully hilarious!

      • Tim Blake is a very talented guy. He’s directed…and he’s the only member of the Soggy Bottom Boys that actually sang in the movie O Brother! 😉

      • Haha, I sometimes paraphrase his line to the band before playing in the jailhouse now, ‘somewhere in the neighbourhood of B’ – if playing with friends and not sure what key to play a song, somewhere in the neighbourhood of B tends to work!

  10. Great post, Geoff. I’m not the biggest fan of this one. I really do like Exit Planet Dust (still), but I got bored of this one very quickly. A bit too time consuming with not enough variety, I reckon.

    • Thanks J – I’m interested in checking out EPD, nice to hear it holds up 20 years later!

      • It’s a goody, Geoff. A little shorter than this one, too (and definitely more of the psychedelic vibes happening).

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