In 1995, The Chemical Brothers brought you a quintessential dance album entitled Exit Planet Dust. Intertwining break-beat and techno with power-hitting bass licks, they made their mark on the electronic music scene. Fourteen years later, Tom Rowland and Ed Simons stay true to their essence as they drop their ninth studio album entitled No Geography. Reinventing their nostalgia with their 90s big beat sound, they also find a new way to take you into the future by expanding their musical abilities and sending you a specific political message.
No Geography is conceptional piece that interprets the evolution of consciousness within the political sphere. The smooth transitions from one song to another depict their coherence, for the album is meant a straight shot listen from start to end without pauses. While keeping your feet moving, The Chemical Brothers create a social awareness that embraces the spirit of revolution in EDM. The title itself describes a sense of identity without borders, which completely aligns with their approach on music. Featured artist Aurora starts the album in “Eve of Destruction” with her automated eerie voice. The robotic essence sets the tone for the album as the vibrant disco sequence builds into a beat-smacking break. Immediately introducing the a groovy “Miami vice” bass line, the brothers exemplify that this album is a blast from the past.
Not being afraid to smash you in the face with their dirty bass, the bros resurrect their disco roots with their 70s jungle beats in “Bango.” Eventually, the track is mixed with 90s magical sequencers to introduce “No Geography.” The celestial big beat creates a vocal space that continues the manifestation of their message. By the end of the album, the strength of the politically charged vocal samples of the legendary 70s disco artist, El Coco, comes out in their song “MAH” (Mad as Hell) to protest and dance. Feeling the grit of the beat is the perfect driving force to capture the energy of the chant, “I’m mad as hell. I just can’t take it anymore.” The UK pioneers make their agenda known – they want to make you head bang to the beat as they make you feel and think.
The Chemical Brothers understand that the personal is political, and they illustrate this statement in their first single, “Free Yourself.” Embracing autonomy with influential anthem hook, “Free yourself. Dance,” the unforgettable sequencer layers over the memorable “square-wave” chain-like bass to prepare the beat drop. Instantly making this song a crowd pleaser and the focal point of the album. They curate their vision of the song in their futuristic music video, where a warehouse full of human robots gain consciousness and free themselves from their boxes. Dancing as if no one is watching, the movement expresses the liberation of self.
To some audiences, The Chemical Brothers are an anomaly and not completely understood. However, it is clear that they are original and continue to have the respect from the underground scene. No Geography is considered unique and distinctive; thus, it can belong to both the mainstream and the warehouse kids. As it said in Exit Planet Dust hit single “Leave Home,” Blake Baxter vocal sample “brothers are gonna work it out” became their timeless slogan. Inevitably, the brothers live up this motto as they always manage to bring us raw and intelligent electronic music.