Album Preview: The Chemical Brothers AND Herbie Hancock

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We bring you another double-shot of great new music this week as part of KCRW’s Album Preview series!

chemical brothers The Chemical Brothers – “Further” (Astralworks/EMI)

Fifteen years ago, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, aka The Chemical Brothers, promised us that “the brothers gonna work it out” on their single, “Leave Home.” That wasn’t referring to a decade of therapy; it meant creating some of the best electronic music around.  Jumping ahead to the present, they offer up their seventh studio album with Further, 50-plus minutes of danceable beats and driving melodies.

This Grammy-award winning duo pays special tribute to the sensory overload of psychedelic sounds over the course of the album’s eight tracks.  Throbbing pulses of electronic noise set the groundwork for snatches of vocal samples, squelching bursts of melody and other trademark Chemical Brothers sounds.  Tom and Ed chose to eschew guest appearances for this album, aiming for a more personal musical travelogue that is reminiscent of the ebb and flow of their legendary live gigs.

herbie solo shot

Herbie Hancock – “The Imagine Project” (Hancock Records)

Herbie Hancock’s “The Imagine Project” is an unprecedented international recording project featuring collaborations between the legendary multiple Grammy-winning artist and over a dozen superstars from every region of the planet.  Utilizing the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility, the musical collaborations combine Hancock’s genre-defying musical vision with the “local” musical identity of cultures from around the world.

Guests range from sitarist Anoushka Shakar, R&B diva Chaka Khan, soulman John Legend, Congolese electronic collective Konono No. 1, guitar great Jeff Beck, Malian singer Oumou Sangare, nomadic Toureg musicians Tinariwen, LA’s roots rockers Los Lobos, Celtic music masters The Chieftains, Irish artist Lisa Hannigan, pop superstar Dave Matthews, Brazilian singer/songwriter Seu, and many more.

A global musing on the power of song to bring people together, the recordings for this unique record have taken place in each collaborator’s home territory whenever possible, and embody the spirit, hearts, sounds, colors and flavor of each locale – a complete sensory musical experience.  Footage from each recording session has been shot in each locale to be included in a planned documentary as well.  Take a global trip without leaving your seat and imagine what’s possible.