By: Jessica Nakamoto –
While breaking the space-time-continuum may be off the table (for now), Manchester-based duo, The Chemical Brothers, are back pushing boundaries with the introduction of not only the fastest remix in history, but an upcoming album that’s sure to blow away the rest of the electronic pack.
Set for release on April 12th via Astralwerks Records, No Geography, rings in as the group’s ninth studio album and first new music since 2016’s stand-alone track, “C-h-e-m-i-c-a-l”. But more importantly, the album serves as an ideal blank canvas for the four-time Grammy winners, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, to once again re-invent the dance music landscape.
And as the band who brought listeners the breakthrough combination of VR and interactive video with 2015 hit song “Under the Neon Lights”, and topped the charts with the most UK #1 studio albums of any dance act in history, fans across the globe can be found with a serious case of excitement overload. Because considering the twosome’s groundbreaking history, No Geographywas bound to be revolutionary.
Yet, even with listeners having been groomed to “expect the unexpected”, The Chemical Brothers managed to dig deep and resurface with a sound that almost no one saw coming. Because, as it turns out, the trick to the duo’s latest evolution was a surprising blast from the past.
Utilizing equipment dating back to their first two records, and a kit that Astralwerks describe as having collected “dust in Tom’s attic for the last twenty years”, No Geography emerged as the perfect mash-up of both good bones and a fresh creative perspective.
“Traditional” Chemical Brothers elements can be spotted in tracks such as “MAH”, which employ repetition of key vocal lines to pierce through livid synth tones and project an aggressive, but clearly rave-worthy effect. Songs such as lead single, “Free Yourself”, also radiate a more jagged sound with sharp transitions and a slightly unsettling but energetic use of vocal samples.
On a different vein however, tracks such as “We’ve Got To Try” and “Got To Keep On”, are refreshing leaps into the world of funk and disco inspiration with string sections and chiming bells complimenting 303 bass synthesizer tones in a euphoric but catchy melody. Choir-like vocal samples and bouncy percussion segments also add surprising levity to some of the duo’s strongest offerings, a distinct deviation from the band’s characteristic rave-style tracks.
And as if Rowlands and Simons needed even more experimentation, “We’ve Got To Try” has already received a signature remix and stands as the global sonic identity of Formula 1. And whether you listen to the original song or the fastest remix of all time (the three-second-long “WGTT15000BPM F1 NEEEUM MIX” has been accelerated to 15,000 beats per minute to emulate the 15,000 revs per minute of a hyper-complex F1 car), no one can doubt that the duo sets the standard for pushing the limits of electronic music. Because when it comes to The Chemical Brothers, the future of techno isn’t coming. It’s nestled within the tracks of No Geography and waits for you to discover, for yourself, the marvels of embracing unbridled ambition and a fearless dive into the beautiful uncertainty what lies ahead, however long (or short) that journey may be.
Recommended Tracks: “We’ve Got To Try”, and “Got To Keep On”