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Dig Your Own Hole - The Chemical Brothers

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Genre: Dance & Electronic - Electronica / Artist: The Chemical Brothers / Audio CD released 1997-04-07 at Virgin

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    14 Reviews
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      10.01.2012 18:18

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      It doesn't get much better than this

      This is the first album I bought by the Chemical Brothers and boy, was I impressed. I've now gone on to get another 5 and am going to get the rest. It is brilliant the whole way through and by the end you feel like you've gone on some amazing journey. It really takes you in for the ride. 'Block Rockin' Beats' lets you know you're in for a stormer and there is no let-up. Some tracks may be slower, 'Where Do I Begin?' for example, but they are still all really intense and it is clear that a lot of effort has gone into this album (unlike some other records these days). The tracks are all mixed together so there's no break - just a solid hour of pulsating, thumping, electronic beats.
      'Dig Your Own Hole' is the stand out track for me but I love all of them. This album is nearly 14 years old but you can't tell because it's that good. This will be a favourite of mine for a long long time. Get it on loud and enjoy.

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      19.09.2009 19:06
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      If you only ever buy one Chemical Brothers album, make sure it is this one!

      The Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole (1997)

      Producer: Tom Rowlands, Ed Simons

      Block Rockin' Beats
      Dig Your Own Hole
      Elektrobank
      Piku
      Setting Sun
      It Doesn't Matter
      Don't Stop the Rock
      Get Up on It Like This
      Lost in the K-hole
      Where Do I Begin
      The Private Psychedelic Reel


      Released in 1997, Dig Your Own Hole is the second studio album by The Chemical Brothers. It builds upon the already firm foundation which its predecessor, Exit Planet Dust, had left behind two years earlier. Exit Planet Dust had already shown that the Brothers favoured samples of genuine instruments over your typical electronic whirs and grinds, but here it is taken to an entirely new level. I noted in my Exit Planet Dust review that the Brothers had a fondness for funk and rock music, but what was once a mere interest and theme throughout their music has become the very basis and lifeblood of many of the tracks.

      So, how about some more Block Rockin' Beats? Because that opening track does sure as hell rock out! The carnage which the slap-bass sample (from 23 Skidoo's Coup) leaves behind is monumental, simply ravenous in its desire to bring the house down. Of course, the sample has been modified, twisted and tweaked to perfection, and you just know that a great deal of time has been spent on getting it right, simply because the end result is so mesmerizing.

      Elektrobank is worth every second of its 8 minute running time. This is how epics are meant to be forged. It keeps on modifying and adding more to the soundscape until the final product is a highly innate recording of mass destruction. Something akin to watching a nuclear bomb detonate in your back yard, the throng of diverse sounds fired in your general direction is something to be in awe of.

      The first half of this record is flawless and is truly one of the greatest side As in the history of electronica. As if more proof was needed, it is rounded off beautifully by Setting Sun. Gaining inspiration from The Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows, it is a tremendously consistent listen. From the first whine of the sitar, through to the introduction of the crashing drums, you know what to expect and not once does it deviate from its chosen musical path. You are safe to get all excited every time you hear the start of the track, because you know what's just around the corner and the quality of what is about to come. Memorable and enthralling, it's perfection. I'll be the first to say that I'm not a huge fan of Oasis, but Noel Gallagher's psychedelic vocal performance is perfect for this kind of bizarre recording.

      The shortest track to be found on the record is Get Up on It like This. Short and sweet, it somehow manages to fit in perfectly amongst the two tracks which bookend it, Don't Stop the Rock and Lost In the K-Hole. The funk bass is back during Lost In the K-Hole, only turned down a notch and not quite so violent, but most definitely making a worthy return.

      I'm just going to put this out there and you can make of it what you will, but I find Where Do I Begin, featuring Beth Orton, quite flat and lifeless. I quite enjoy Beth Orton's relaxed vocals, so I don't feel that the problem lies there, but more in that the Brothers have ran out of fresh ideas by this point, a notion which isn't aided by the bothersome rattle of the guitar loop.

      Well, I say that the Brothers have run out of ideas by this point, something which isn't entirely true, as the record is brought to a finish by the longest track of the set, The Private Psychedelic Reel. I think that no matter who you are this is going to be a case of either love it or hate it, so I can merely give my own personal opinion on what the song's about and hope that you dig what I say.

      I'd pretty much sum up The Private Psychedelic Reel as a self-indulgent experiment (with a running time of 9 minutes 21 second), one which possesses a knowing arrogance over its drawn-out genius. It's as if the Brothers were to look you in the eye and say, "Yeah, we're the bomb, this is what we can do and we do it better than all of the rest. That's how come we can afford to bring the album to a close in such a reassuringly hedonistic way, sucka'!" But I can hardly blame them, after all, what better way to gain respect from critics and to alienate casual fans at the same time than to construct such a convoluted and yet entirely satisfying piece of music to bring the album to an end.

      This album has so many significant hooks throughout its running time that even a family of octopi would have difficulty counting all of them. Dig Your Own Hole manages to not only better The Chemical Brothers' previous album, Exit Planet Dust, but it places them on a pedestal and shows every other electronica act how it is meant to be done.

      9/10

      Daniel Kemp

      Read more reviews at www.danielkempreviews.co.uk

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        27.03.2009 23:54
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        Totally worth your purchase!

        Excellent furious electronic beat masters the Chemical Brothers followed up their debut ("Exit Planet Dust") with this masterpiece of modern chemically-influenced block rockin' beats. It's non-stop and turns corners like a ferrari. It is as good as excellent rock and roll and is worth several hundred listens. It's multi-layered, clearly well produced and so full of talent that it has wheels large enough to carry it far from the dance floor to the living rooms of you and I. I've been listening to this album on and off for the past few years and it always brings the same unfading feelings. The Brothers do have better albums - their first, Exit Planet Dust, Surrender, Come With Us. They are more together but no more styled. The essential sound of the Chemical Brothers is contained in these 11 tracks, playing at just over an hour.

        "Dig Your Own Hole" is a funk-trance epic leaving you wanting more. "Setting Sun" features the vocals of Noel Gallagher from Oasis. It sick, they layer him in so well that he sounds like a specially manufactured electronic musical machine. Perhaps he is. "You're coming on strong..." he bellows. And "Elektrobank", Wow! What a track! "Who is this doin' this synthetic type of alpha beta psychedelic funkin'?" they shout. Who indeed?!

        Everything slows to a jumpy night-time groove in Lost in the K-Hole, then moves to the next morning as you wake up and sing Where Do I Begin. "Sunday morning i'm waking up, can't even focus on my coffee cup. Don't even know who's bed i'm in, where do I start, where do I begin?". Accompanied by a truly beautiful beat in combination with Beth Orton's vocals, this album hits an incredible note. 3 minutes through it explodes and you find out just where to begin. Relentlessly psychedelic, the "Private Psychedelic Reel" ends the album with wild tones and more non-stop techno beats.

        There are some less exciting moments where you can tell that the Brothers are still learning their trade. Get Up On It has great technical achievement but lacks style and interest. Don't Stop The Rock is just okay. But overall, this is a necessary listen and one that is bound to captivate most open listeners ears.

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          11.11.2000 19:14
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          Most groups find that they suddenly stumble upon success. Be it a breakthrough single that makes all their follow-up dross seem somehow better - see Moloko - or an album with three or four inspired moments that drew NME's attention - see Finley Quaye - the net effect is the same, a gradual decline into obscurity. The Chemical Brothers followed a slightly different path. Their first major album, Exit Planet Dust, drew critical acclaim but never the widespread attention it deserved. Then they released this follow-up EP, and the fair-weather plaudits soon began to heap praise upon them. You know the score - Q magazine "tips" them as the next big thing, readers of NME write in saying they're not as good as the Stones, that kind of thing. The key difference is that since this album, the Chemicals have only progressed onto even better things. Regardless, Dig Your Own Hole is quite feasibly one of the top three or four dance albums of the last ten years. At its time of release, I would say it was at the pinnacle of its genre, although most would agree it has since been surpassed by its follow-up, Surrender. The closest comparison of recent years is between the Chemicals of this album, and the Prodigy style of 1996. Surrender is not as hard edged as this album, which at times is very much a techno-dominated piece. This change is probably more to do with their growing experience in post-production and sampling. Exit Planet Dust, their first album, was much harder to get into and quite roughly produced by comparison to this second offering. By the time they had made Surrender, the production was obviously far more professional and the sound smoother. The result is a curious blend of manicured album fillers (Lost In The K-Hole) and chipped efforts (Piku). Being the launchpad for their career, it is no surprise that there are a number of well-known tracks included on the album. Perhaps the most famous is Block Rockin' Be
          ats, with its whooping chorus and deep synthed-up beat. Even if you don't know this track by name, you've probably heard it a million times sampled into programmes (cut to scene of Clarkson in sexy car flashing past, play tune). The video for this track is in itself a masterpiece, featuring a number of well-known figures, although it is surpassed by the track itself. For me this was really the beginning of the Chemicals' trademark build-ups into huge beats. There are only two particularly well-known tracks on the album, the other being Setting Sun, which features vocals by Noel Gallagher. Of the two tracks Gallagher would work on with the Chemicals (the latter being Let Forever Be, on Surrender), this is in my opinion the better. The lyrics are not actually all that bad, which is an exeption for a group not famed for their poetic dabblings. Try listening to this track past the sound and you might like it more than you once did. Cynics would say the song is only present to draw attention to the Chemicals from a wider audience, and there is a case for that argument, but it has value in its own right. The final highlight of the album is a little-known filler, Lost In The K-Hole. Featuring vocals from Bobby Gillespie (so I am told, although they are heavily disguised), it's a simple, straight-forward track that doesn't pretend to be anything other than it is. The beat is immediately catchy and almost makes you smile purely on the comic strength of it. After a while of the insanely pleasant beat that just makes you want to dance like a fool, the track breaks into a synth chorus that defies description. I do believe I have never encountered anyone who finds this track as enjoyable as I do, but it remains a highlight nonetheless - well worth 30p on a jukebox at the least. These three tracks aside, the album follows a similar pattern throughout. Their sound is unique in the repetitive and tiresome world of dance music, but the
          closest comparisons are with Prodigy, Orbital and Leftfield, the latter most closely. At times the sound on this album is almost akin to old rave music, becoming rapidly irksome if you are not pumped up with Es and whizz. I am a fan of their music but it has to be said that not everyone will love this album throughout. It is schizophrenic at times, moving from chart-grade dance to simple loop-based fillers. Most interesting as a showcase for their sampling skills, Dig Your Own Hole really marks the intermediate stage in their progression from clubland DJ favourites to top ten single pimps. If the slightly cheesy chart tunes of more recent years are not entirely to your taste, you may find that this album is perfect. It is darker, harder and more adrenaline-fuelled, an album well worth owning purely for the three or four stand-out tracks.

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            28.10.2000 00:09

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            This album has to be one of the most inspirational albums of all time. The use of bizarre sounds at times makes it sound industrial, but then with a heavy dance influence it returns back to where it's trying to be. The sounds are great, my favourite being Where Do I Begin, as it blends very soft, smooth, soulful style and then suddenly kicks in with a pounding rhythm and bassline. Absolutely amazing. Block Rockin Beats is another good song on the album which requires extremely loud playing. Also worthy of a mention are Setting Sun, and Elektrobank as very good songs. If you don't have this album and have ever liked a Chemical Brothers song then you should buy it. I'm sure you won't be disappointed with it. It has to be the best album from them ever.

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            07.09.2000 22:33

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            This album is what got Chemical Brothers to where they are now and that is earning millions! I think it has been helped abit with the likes of Beth Orton and Noel Gallagher adding there voices to the songs but they have got to the top with hardly any help at all. All there stuff is original and every single beat has been created by them and only them and when they are live then its all created live there and not just put on a track and played out. This album caters for everything and has beats ranging from everything and has slow and fast tracks. If you are not into dance The Chemical Brothers I think will still appeal to you and if your just getting into them then buy this album first as I personally think its the best one so far. Alex

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            04.09.2000 23:10
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            When this album was released I said to a friend that it was the sound of Big Beat Grown Up. I wasn't lying. This album had the feel of Exit Planet Dust but was a more adult sounding, mature album. Obviously the two principle musicians had developed a sound and had themselves grown up with that, but this new material was more than a few years of gigging and producing. It sounded like dance music was mutating at a rapid rate, developing into an altogether new sound. That may sound pretentious, but compare the two albums back to back and the difference is clear. The money had obviously started to pile in and so did the bigger collaborations, and more exclusive samples. Kicking off with the Schooly D sampling Block Rockin' Beats which made them a hit on dancefloors from the local Shitzy meat-markets to the techno festivals on Mount Fuji. The Chemical Brothers had gone global, and they hadn't even started putting their best material together yet. Other high points include Electrobank, and the amazing Setting Sun. Which bizarrely included a little known guitarist with a tinny voice, who they managed to catapult into the big time. OK I am being silly now. But the album became bigger than the band had imagined and set the path for their remix album, and the third studio album, Surrender. As the album sold by the bucket load the production requests rolled in and the band put mixes down for St Etienne, Primal Scream, the Charlatans, the Manics. Hold on, a second, none of those bands are dance. Get it, the Chems' as they like to be known, were using their production skills to overcome the lacking areas of indie and rock. And didn't they do well. Great band, all 3 studio albums are tiptop and they are really nice blokes.

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            03.09.2000 02:21

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            The follow up to Exit Planet Dust takes up just where its predecessor left off. The same incredible quality runs throughout this excellent album, and the anthemic qualities of tracks such as Block Rockin' Beats and The Private Psychedelic Reel stand out enormously. Again, the collaborations (Beth Orton on Where Do I Begin, and Noel Gallagher on the famous Setting Sun) use the vocal talents of their contibutors to the full. This album, even more than Exit Planet Dust, speaks to your ears, your brain, and most importantly, your feet. Essential.

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            28.07.2000 20:06
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            For me, this will always be the Chemical Brothers' best album (until they better it, of course). It's packed with utter classics, incuding the immensely popular Block Rockin' Beats, and their first collaboration with Noel Gallagher, Setting Sun (I can't say I'm a fan of the man, but as with the more recent Let Forever Be, the song woildn't be the same without him). I listened to this album constantly when I first bought it, and it's still never far from my stereo. Aside from the aforementioned two crowdpleasers, Dig Your Own Hole is bristling with powerful electronic tunes. In my opinion, the trio of Elecktrobank, Piku and the eponymous Dig Your Own Hole stand out particularly, being the intricately designed, infectious beat-laden numbers that they are. Love them though I do, if I was forced to get rid of anything, it'd be the 10 or 15 minute cluster of tracks 6-9 (inclusive). Of course, I haven't mentioned the two closing tracks yet - Where Do I Begin with Beth Orton on vocals, and the 9-minute epic The Private Psychedelic Reel. If you have to be convinced that this album is indeed a masterpiece, then listen to these - preferably a few minutes after waking up on a sunny morning (such was the defining moment of my appreciation for these two tracks). They really are both amazing, evidence of the Chemicals at their very best, I reckon. Dig Your Own Hole is closer to Exit Planet Dust than it is to Surrender in terms of style, but it will surely appeal to fans of either album. I'd say that the quality of the tracks isn't quite as consistent as it is on the other two albums, but this is no bad thing - as it is the result of a few merely marvellous tracks being dwarfed by some absolutely stunning, beautiful, seminal pieces of music - in particular the aforementioned final two tracks. I stamp this album with the biggest, most expensive gold star I can lay my hands on - it's a beast.

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              19.07.2000 21:47

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              Ignore the semi-illiterate "music fans" that give this masterpiece one star. The Chemical Brothers have made an album that easily outpaces any other electronica, dance, techno, or whatever you want to call it album ever made. Whether or not you like the brothers Gallagher, "Setting Sun" is a masterpiece of techno-rock fusion. "Block Rockin' Beats" is the answer to the critcs that call "Dig Your Own Hole" a "rock" album -- try not dancing to it. In short, buy this album. Ignore the kindergarten music critics, and do yourself a favor.

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              10.07.2000 20:48

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              This CD will settle any bet that club music is good for only dancing and nothing else. "Dig your Own Hole" can really be appreciated on so many levels simply because the music itself is so multilayered. Almost all the tracks on "Dig your own hole" are densely packed with furious beats, electric guitar, keyboard swoops and plinks, and whatever else thrown in for good measure. Outstanding tracks include "Piku", "Dig your own Hole", "It doesn't matter" and "Setting Sun". A few tracks are of the mellow and hypnotic order, but it hardly means they disappoint. The CD is a 50+ minute soundscape to be experienced in a variety of modes. Whether you like to toke up, sit back and listen, jog to it or dance to it - you will not be dissatisfied!

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              06.07.2000 18:29
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              This album really is what made The Chemical Brothers travel down that road to Super Stardom. If you like the chemical brothers at the current moment, i REALLY suggest that you listen to this. It has lots of wonder ful hits that you may never heard of, but you will be gald that you did, such as "where do i begin" and "lost in the k-hole", and it also has some wonderful popular hits that started the popularity of the Chemical Brothers such as "block rockin' beats" and "don't stop the rock". Many of the tracks integrate with one and another so there isn't that annoying 3 second pause that you find on many dance cd's, and the overall quality of the chemical brothers is just truly amazing. It is hard to describe how brilliant this album is, so all i can say is, if you like dance music, listen to this album.

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              28.06.2000 20:33

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              This is prehaps the definitive student party anthem album. full of pounding beats backed up by pounding pass and psychedelic sounds add up to produce an album of outstanding quality throughout. Starting off with the hit single "Block rocking beats" you know the 'Brothers have arrived and they've definitly 'worked it out' so to say. "electrobank" is another rocker, and goes at a break neck pace, with an undenighably catchy bass line that hints a funky twinge. A highlight of the album is the collaboration with oasis' Noel Gallagher on "Setting sun" with works well, a collarge of sound that comes together very well. Also of note is the Beth Orten sung collaboration which brought her to world attention. But to my mind it is the Mercury Rev inspired "Private Psychedelic Reel" that is the materpiece here. It closes the album, and how perfectly it does that. Sheer genius!

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              09.06.2000 00:57
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              Dig Your Own Hole saw the Chemical Brothers move on from being the guiding lights of bigbeat to it's ultimate assassins. It saw them move from quirky underground experimentalists to become the Black Sabbath of dance music. From the dark moody cover and psychedelic sleeve images to the title itself, their whole persona screamed experimentalism, drugs and exhibitionism. Curious when you consider how mild, reserved and good natured they actually seem to be. But when you hear those grinding bass lines that resonate with more power than a meltdown at Sellafield, the shuddering drums and tripped out musical tangents, you know that these boys are burning with an inner rebellion. Right from the opening bombastic Block Rockin’ Beats (vocals courtesy of Schooly D incidentally) through to the incredible (and still finest ever Chemical Brothers song in my mind) Private Psychedelic Reel it's an album that can never bore, never fail to inspire and always surprise you. Elektrobank (introduced by another hip hop hero Kool Herc) with the heaviest bass lines ever, Setting Sun featuring of course Noel Gallagher and the dreamy Where Do I Begin sung by Beth Orton all show the diversity of this incredible album. While this album marked bigbeat's finest hour it also heralded it's imminent demise. Dig Your Own Hole quite simply couldn't be followed. Even Fatboy Slim for all his considerable commercial appeal, looked loonish next to this album. From here big Beat fragmented and either looked to it's underground b-boy roots, became watered down and pop friendly or just plain daft. But for all it's Beatles-esque, psychedelic, genius the album pails in significance next to the live experience. But that, as they say, is another story.

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          • Product Details

            Disc #1 Tracklisting
            1 Block Rockin' Beats
            2 Dig Your Own Hole
            3 Elektrobank
            4 Piku
            5 Setting Sun
            6 It Doesn't Matter
            7 Don't Stop The Rock
            8 Get Up On It Like This
            9 Lost In The K Hole
            10 Where Do I Begin
            11 Private Psychedelic Reel