Collections Testify To Act's Chemistry

Excerpted from the magazine for

DJs/producers Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands have been friends for nearly 15 years. They have recorded together as the Chemical Brothers for a decade. To celebrate, the Brothers' label, Astralwerks, is releasing separately a greatest hits CD ("The Singles '93-'03") and DVD ("Retrospective").

"It was interesting to go through all the music and videotapes and rediscover things we had forgotten about," Simons says. "These songs are full of memories for us."

The CD includes classic tracks like "Song to the Siren," "Setting Sun," "Star Guitar" and the Grammy Award-winning "Block Rockin' Beats." It also spotlights two new tracks: "Get Yourself High" featuring Canadian rapper K-OS and lead single "The Golden Path," a collaboration with the Flaming Lips.

The CD will initially arrive as a two-disc set. A limited-edition bonus disc will feature B-sides, rarities and never-before-released tracks. For the vinyl purist, the label is issuing less than 2,500 heavy gauge vinyl four-pack boxed sets.

"Retrospective" includes 10 Chemical Brothers music videos, interviews with such directors as Spike Jonze and behind-the-scenes tour footage.

Even though the Chemical Brothers have collaborated with numerous guest artists -- Beth Orton, Noel Gallagher, Richard Ashcroft, Bernard Sumner and Hope Sandoval, among others -- their musical output reflects the aural likes of its two members.

At the same time, the music does not sound dated; this is not always the case with dance/electronic music, which thrives on the here and now.

Perhaps this can be attributed to the duo's belief that timely production and music (whether it be hip-hop, techno or alternative rock) are just as important as good ideas. "We always had so many things going on in our music," Simons notes. "It's always been like a big ball of energy for us."

MTV2 began airing the Chris Milk-directed video for the disc's lead single, "The Golden Path." Also, the Sept. 26 edition of the network's "Subterranean" show will focus on the Chemical Brothers.

In addition, a one-of-a-kind, Willy Wonka-like golden ticket is inside one of the limited-edition CDs. The buyer of this CD will win "a New Year's Eve getaway" -- an all-expenses-paid trip for two to wherever the Chemical Brothers are performing Dec. 31.

Prior to this date, Rowlands and Simons will be kept busy plying their DJ wares around the world. The duo is confirmed to play four U.S. dates in late October.

When not on the road, the Chemical Brothers will likely be laying down new tracks for their fifth studio album, which is scheduled for release next year.

"Compiling 'The Singles' and 'Retrospective' has given us a newfound focus," Simons says. "It's like we have cleared the decks."

Rowlands adds, "This has been very liberating for us. These collections give us a fresh start. In a way, we are now at ground zero-still enjoying the process."

Excerpted from the Sept. 27, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Premium Services section.

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