This 1995 album put ‘big beat’ into the lingo. Plenty of sampled loops, squelchy TB303 basslines, and a compressed kick that won’t quit add up to upbeat, danceable techno.
If you’ve listened to much electronic music, you’ve probably heard some of the cuts on this album. “Leave Home” starts the album off, with a sampled chorus of “The brother’s gonna work it out.” And work it out they do.
This album helped define the big beat style. It features compressed and distorted beats throughout. The basslines are 303 distorted sequences. The Chemical Brothers don’t use the typical filter sweeps to generate interest in their basslines. Instead, they run the 303 through a variety of distortion devices to give the bassline of each cut a different sound.
Some of the standout cuts on this album are Chemical Beats, Leave home, and Three Little Birdies Down Beats. They get help on a couple of cuts. Vocalist Beth Horton joins them on “Alive Alone”, and Tim Burgess on “Live is Sweet”. A couple of slower cuts show another side of their talents. “Chico’s Groove”, especially, provides a break from the aggressive beats. It manages to be downtempo and distorted at the same time.
The Chemical Brothers are Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons. On Exit Planet Dust, they establish a unique sound that they’ve developed in later albums.
If you like dance-oriented electronica, Exit Planet Dust is one you must have.