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Chemical Brothers, The

Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons first met at Manchester University, bonding over a shared love of old-school Hip Hop and My Bloody Valentine.

The duo originally played as The Dust Brothers, until legal action from The Beastie Boys‘ collaborators of the same name enforced a moniker change in 1995.

A benchmark release for the big beat genre, Exit Planet Dust (1995) featured all the trademark elements of The Chemical Brothers’ sound – a mouth-watering mix of psychedelia, hip-hop, breakbeats, acid house, funk and guitar-friendly rock. The album gave the Chemicals a Top 10 UK hit and sales of one million worldwide.

Dig Your Own Hole (1997) was where the Chemicals really got serious. The no-nonsense artwork belied the more heads-down approach within; many tracks had been road tested in the haze of the Heavenly Social club at London’s Turnmills.

Along with Orbital, The Prodigy and Underworld, the Chemicals were one of the few Nineties techno acts with stadium-filling capacity. Likewise, they were one of the few able to deliver a ‘dance’ album that was not simply a series of variations on a kick-drum sound.

Cross-pollinating genres as they went, and inventing a few of their own along the way, the duo’s Dig Your Own Hole remains a monolithic testament to the transcendental power of Nineties rave culture.

Tom Rowlands
Ed Simons