Chemical Brothers, The - Exit Planet Dust
For years before the release of Exit Planet Dust, the production duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons were cranking out slabs of the biggest sounds around on the label junior boys' own. A key record of the 1990s, Exit Planet Dustinvented the big-beat style that dominated British dance music in the second half of the decade, and it still sounds superb in its own right. Skull-crunching hip-hop loops, fuzz guitar, insistently repetitive spoken samples and thunderous basslines make up the blueprint for one of the most instantly energising albums ever recorded. many of the titles - Chemical Beats, Fuck up Beats, Chico's Groove are fairly self-explanatory. Others show a level of erudite humour; Song to the Siren filches the name of a Tim Buckley ballad for a track more in keeping with the mysteries of a car alarm, while One Too Many Mornings is nothing that Bob Dylan would recognise in a hurry. Collaborations with Beth Orton (Alive Alone) and the Charlatans' Tim Burgess (Life is Sweet) add human voices to the brilliant mechanical formula.