The Muzik Top 50 Dance Albums of All Time
In January 2002, Muzik Magazine published what its writers defined as the 50 best dance albums of all time. DJ Shadow topped the list, with his seminal "Endtroducing" from 1996. Number 2 in the chart was The Chemical Brothers 1995 debut "Exit Planet Dust". Below is the text which accompanied the entry of "Exit Planet Dust".
To appreciate he importance of "Exit Planet Dust", think back to the early Nineties, when the optimism and egalitarianism of acid house was beginning to loose its lustre. Cracks were showing, the protagonists of the 1988 explosion were going their separate ways and nights as chalk and cheese as Megadog and Yellow Book illustrated the rapidly widening division. People who'd previously embraced all that acid house offered now found themselves feeling disenchanted by the re-arrangement of dance's tectonic plates - notably, Jeff Barrett and Heavenly Records who launched the Sunday Social in August 1994, with the then Dust Brothers as their resident DJ's. The Social then changed the nature of club culture - a demented 13 week run in the basement of he Albany pub in London, amyl fumes hanging thick in the air, guest DJ's playing anything from mad old acid tunes to The Specials, it was an exciting alternative to increasing prosaic and blinkering house clubs. And "Exit Planet Dust" provided the soundtrack to those heady times.
Released in July 1995, "Exit Planet Dust" - with its raw, ferocious basslines and beats so fat you could abseil off them - was the Social manifesto on vinyl. Its a definitive album in terms of turning away from the traditional house culture, Tom and Ed referencing their hero Bob Dylan ("One Too Many Mornings" takes its name from a song on his 1964 album "The Times They Are A Changin"), roping in Beth Orton and The Charlatans' Tim Burgess for vocal spots, bringing rock, psychedelica and folk to the party, and reaching for a world beyond the simple 4/4 beat.
"Its interesting that "Exit Planet Dust" was recorded at the time Oasis' "Defiantly Maybe" came out" says Robin Turner, who originally booked The Chems for The Social. "What that album did for rock 'n' roll, "Exit..." did for dance music. You don't need to think about it too much, it drives you. I think it makes perfect sense that Noel Gallagher went on to work with Tom and Ed."
In short, "Exit Planet Dust" forged a whole new direction for dance music. Without this album, you can argue, there would be no Jon Carter, no Norman Cook, no Avalanches, Wall of Sound, Skint Bugged Out! or Boutique.
Ed Chemical: "I'm pleased to hear something we did so long ago is so popular. I always have a tape of it in my car - for some reason it sounds good on cassette...there's nothing like banging a tape in!
"We made most of "Exit Planet Dust" in a month. It was the first time we felt "this is what we do". We hadn't even considered that we'd be making an album. Before that we were just DJ'ing and doing remixes. The (Junior boss) Steve Hall gave us money to make an album. It was a good feeling. We naturally wanted vocals on our records - it gives them a different edge. We had mutual friends through the people at Heavenly and The Social and met Beth Orton at the same time. I even moved into her old room in Vauxhall the week after we met! And Tim Burgess liked our remix of "Patrol" and we liked The Charlatans' "Up To Our Hips", its a really groovy album, quite swampy, and really connected with us when we were in the studio.
"Exit" came out at a time when dance music was obsessed with futuristic, fractical images, but its defiantly our most organic album. Like all our albums, its got that juxtaposition of music, that shouldn't work. It starts off fast and furious and then switches to something slow and that's something we've always tried to do. People linked us to big beat but what we were trying to do was have moments of stillness and beauty with something exhilarating.
"In America, you meet a lot of people who say "Exit Planet Dust" was the first electronic album they listened to, and a while back Brian Eno published a diary where he mentioned that he and David Bowie enjoyed it. That was nice."