As I grow older, I find that my tastes in music are changing ever so slightly.  Or, maybe if not my tastes, my tolerance levels for shit music are changing.  My gf and I have always been on the opposite sides of dance music.  She will relentlessly and unfairly label it all as ‘bompa chicka bompa chicka music’ whilst I would steadfastly defend the genre.  Even if copping to the fact that it’s not ALL good there are definitely artfully awesome dance tunes out there.  Crafting a good dance record is hard and the results should be appreciated.  But, and especially living over here in the UK–where dance music saturates the culture more than it does in The States, I have to say that I can now understand where she is coming from.  Sometimes, there’s just SOOOO much terrible dance musice that it can become easy just to dismiss it all.  To illustrate, here is a compilation of crap that young people today seem to like.

This exemplifies where Karey and I now agree on the state of dance music.  Stuff like this?  I can barely decipher one track from the next.  And the vocals, if there are any, are usually just covers of other more better songs with the addition of  that synthy awful back beat.  We now have a bi-partisan disdain for this particular breed of dance music.

Though I never really liked that cheap and tinny branch of techno/electronica anyway, I think my fuddy-duddyness exacerbates it.  I roll my eyes when it comes on the radio or my co-worker’s Spotify list.  Kids today.  They wouldn’t know a good beat from a glow-stick.  Now the techno bands of MY youth–they were special.  I love me some Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx and Royksopp…They knew how to blend a sample…

Even better than the originality and innovation of some of their tunes was the consistent and entertaining artfulness of their videos.  Let’s have one of those as today’s great thing:

130.  The Chemical Brothers video “Get Yourself High”.

This song (sans video) isn’t even in my top five Chemical Brothers tracks.  That list goes as such:

1.  Hey Boy, Hey Girl

2.  Star Guitar

3.  Golden Path

4.  Out of Control

5.  It Began in Afrika

But, “Get Yourself High” ain’t too shabby.  Especially for what is essentially a b-side (it was a bonus track on a best-of type album).  The song features Canadian rapper k-os.  Yes, I know that’s suitable reason enough for you to cast suspicion on this track.  But, he’s a bit better than Snow, thankfully.
And I'm dapper!

At any rate, though the song is indeed serviceable (for a workout or a club tune), it’s the video that makes it so stand-out memorable.  Directed by Joseph Kahn, a Korean-American Texan–who has also directed vids for Courtney Love and Britney Spears and is slated to direct the Neuromancer film (based on the William Gibson novel) this video is awesomely kung-fu.  It’s actually ALL kung-fu.  It’s basically footage from the 1982 Shaw Brothers classic 2 Champions of Shaolin.

What I like about so many dance (and alternative rock outfits too) is that they will, for the good of the video often, resist the temptation to make starring appearances.  They don’t dictate that the story should revolve around them and their angst and/or pretty hair and/or tight pants.  This leaves the director with free rein to interpret the song in a less ham-handed way.  I mean, unless you are going to give us absolutely amazing kick-lines of choreagraphy…get out of the wayof the shot, know what I mean?  Which is why I find it unbe-flipping-lievable that the VMA for that year (2004) went to another Kahn video (Spear’s “Toxic”) instead of this three and a half minutes of pure chop-sockey/electro bliss.

It's just an honor to be nominated…

I’ve read a plot synopsis for 2 Champions of Shaolin and I still can’t discern what the hell happens in that movie.  I know it involves secret missions and some monkey style.  But, I can tell you this:  Kung-fu and boomboxes are a marriage made in heaven.  Thank God The Shaw Brothers made the movie so that it could, in turn, be digitally manipulated for this video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you’re interested in learning more about radical Chemical Brothers videos, visit your local library!

Or, here’s an article from Blender.


3 responses to “Chem-Fu”

  1. I know this is wrong but, that video reminds me of “Kung Pow Enter the fist”.
    It is stupid, but fun.

    1. Wait. What did you just say? You’ve not only seen that film, but you sort of liked it? Amazing. That makes about four of us in the world. You must call me ‘Betty’. I know it’s wrong, but I think I laugh more at KPETF more than any other film ever.
      I’m totally blogging up that movie sometime this or next month. (Don’t want to place it too close to this post for reasons you’ve just highlighted).

      1. “That’s a lot of nuts!”
        Yeah, I can’t help it. I love that movie. When I am working on something, I just put it on in the background to listen to it. It’s kinda like watching MST3K, but not.
        A sequel is to be released in 2010.
        Kung Pow 2 Tounge of Fury.
        I am looking forward to this one.

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