Underworld Techno Pioneers
Underworld are one of the pioneers of techno and electronic music in the United Kingdom and around the world. The group was formed in the early 1980s by Rick Smith and Karl Hyde. In their synth-pop days the band included several other members, but in their most memorable shape, underworld went on to include Darren Emerson who was a hip hop and house DJ from London who knew the club circuit and understood the sound that was in-demand at that time and helped the group to shape its signature style. In whatever formation Underworld performed, they rocked stadiums and music venues from Buenos Aires to Tokyo and have not stopped delivering top notch music, always contemporary to what goes on in terms of concept, sound and quality. Underworld’s most famous album has to be their first one, even though this is the author’s subjective opinion. Dubnobasswithmyheadman is a strange title for an even stranger album for that time. Techno music reigned in 1994 but Underworld gave it a pop polish while retaining the gritty feel of the illegal subway tunnel and warehouse raves. Their early sets include the raw sound that the band retained until their Oblivion With Bells album. Everything before that featured dark and long techno tracks, slow and tender techno songs, soothing skits and some gimmicky tracks like Bruce Lee that to this day, still make sense and make the fans smile.
Their first album was perfectly balanced out with some trip hop songs with a pop feel like ME and the ambient work River of Bass. Subsequent albums and EPs included classic tracks such as REZ, King of Snake, Kittens and Born Slippy which is the signature song of the infamous cult classic Trainspotting. Underworld marked yet another famous film, this time Batman Forever, with their edgy rant-ridden banger Moaner. The album A Hundred Days Off released in 2002 ended Underworld’s techno sound. Their next album, after a five-year hiatus, Oblivion With Bells, took a more somber approach, but somehow still included tracks that could make the crowd move (Beautiful Burnout). Three years later, Barking at the Moon, gave the fans a fresh sense of Underworld, yet still retaining their original style. The tracks included broken beat and rave-inspired, now classics, Always Love a Film and Scribble. In between albums Underworld’s Karl Hyde wrote poetry and collaborated in art projects while feeding the Underworld Live page with fresh blurbs from his encounters with the world. Today, Underworld have accolades that include spinning tracks at the opening of the London Olympics, performing on Jimmy Fallon’s show and having performed hundreds of shows around the world.
End of Career? Not by a Long Shot!
Even though Smith and Hyde are in their 60’s they still produce music and perform live. These guys do not get tired of making awesome music and great texts to complement the notes. Karl Hyde gets his inspiration from everything and that can be heard in his music. On their latest track in which Iggy Pop goes on a five minute rant about the good old times about smoking in airplanes and gambling, Hyde contributes with his singing overtones, but Mr. Iggy Pop does it all in the Underworld style scanning the world for rant lyrics that include smoking, stewardess, gambling, and flying.