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On 1/26/2020 at 2:33 AM, 714681746476436 said:

Underworld were probably the people who initially really turned me on to electronic music in a serious way. Both 'Dubnobasswithmyheadman' and 'Second Toughest In The Infants' are triumphs of what can be done musically within the constraint of electronic music. Deep, technical albums. The many supporting EPs that were released along side them were huge, significant remixes - many of which could have served as the main body of work for any other artist.

I agree with all of this — I think they along with Aphex Twin set me on a track to discover more electronic music. And yes the remix EPs from those two albums were insane and stand up on their own. When Beaucoup Fish came out, I was definitely disappointed as it already felt more flat than the previous two. I enjoyed Everything, Everything to some degree but for me it didn’t add any value. I never saw them live. And well like you said, that was about it for them. I sampled various things they released after that but none of it ever appealed to me. 

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The amount of disappointment you may get from one of their newer albums cannot match 1/10th of the sting I felt when I ordered both Underneath the Radar and Change the Weather from a Barnes & Nobl

Underworld were probably the people who initially really turned me on to electronic music in a serious way. Both 'Dubnobasswithmyheadman' and 'Second Toughest In The Infants' are triumphs of what can

Discovered Cherry Pie a few weeks ago. Super good track.  Underworld definitely have lots of hidden gems to discover away from the main albums,  and speaking of cherries I would recommend cherry pic

Ibiza 2000

Gatecrasher NEC 2003

Brixton Academy 2008

Glade Festival 2012

Roundhouse 2016

Yeah seen them a few times! Wish I had seen them prior to 2000 but hey hi, being 18 years old in Ibiza was pretty special. Best gig was easily Brixton 2008, I remember it so clearly. Epic.

 

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Well I was expecting more of a vigorous defence from our resident Underworld fan club.

I think Drift has reinvigorated Mr Smith and Mr Hyde. 

I also just wanted to say I love Kittens from Beaucoup Fish! 

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Eh, what can you do? You know, I don't disagree with the original post. In fact, I have a similar feeling about their post "Beaucop Fish" releases. It's not the loss of Emerson, because he was gone by "Beaucop...", if I recall correctly. But what matters to me is that they're still trying. They still share with the world. If it doesn't move you, so what? They are still doing something, and that's just fine. I just won't buy what I don't want to listen to regularly, but I respect people who are crippled by the depression and self-imposed solitude induced by the fear that any sane person might feel in this over-stuffed, over-carbon(dioxide)ated world we're in. Fuck it. They're still trying to make something, at least. 

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54 minutes ago, donquixote said:

They were great live, surprisingly so, I'm not a massive fan but they rocked a crowd in the 90s at least.

 

I was expecting more Door Doot love tho.

Just had a Freur youtube session, havn't listened to that stuff for years.

Doot Doot is indeed still great.  That "Riders in the night" pop video is pretty corny haha... Karl's hair is perfect for early 80s London

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After reading some of the replies on this thread I went of and really listened to “Drift” and “Barbara”. 

I’m really not feeling either of them. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Karl’s vocals I’m not sure I’d recognise any of them as Underworld productions. They suffer, probably more so, from the same super soulless production and just appear to be vapid, uninteresting music.

When I listen to the older stuff, what I think I’m hearing is the result of hundreds of hours in the studio. A real labour of love - people trying to make something significant or at least important to themselves. The new stuff is just fucking so anonymous, soundcloud bullshit.

Am oot.

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On 2/2/2020 at 9:09 AM, 714681746476436 said:

I’m really not feeling either of them. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Karl’s vocals I’m not sure I’d recognise any of them as Underworld productions. They suffer, probably more so, from the same super soulless production and just appear to be vapid, uninteresting music.

To me Threat of Rain (Drift Ep2) is up there with Dark & Long (Dark Train)

 

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I liken Drift to ae NTS Sessions.

It is vast, sprawling, and benefits from a condensed playlist depending upon mood.

But each show that the artists are capable of great things still in their respective realms.

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I have no idea what this is all about. Oblivion With Bells is my favourite Underworld album. Not sure if 'cheesy house beats' fits that in the slightest, given that after the first three songs there's barely a dance-oriented rhythm in sight, and it's their most acoustic record really. A stunning album, and an all-time top ten for me.

Barking is obviously pretty dire, and it's unsurprising to discover that they were on the verge of breaking up at the time. Generic verse/chorus songs and unnecessary collaborations. A Hundred Days Off I enjoy, but it's definitely second-tier Underworld. 'Mo Move' and 'Luetin' are classics, the rest just feels like lesser album tracks without the much needed highlights.

Barbara Barbara I really liked on first listen, but it's grown off me a little over the past couple of years. The first two tracks are great and brilliant examples of Underworld just doing their own thing, totally at odds with anything in their past. The rest is pretty but inessential. 

Drift is fucking incredible. Again, calling it soulless and uninteresting seems bizarre given that it includes an 80 minute disc of avant-jazz tracks, songs like 'Hundred Weight Hammer', 'A Moth at the Door' and such which are downright weird, and opens with a duo of acid bangers which are the rawest sounding tracks they've done since Dubnobass. 

The move to a very digital sound has probably meant they've lost some identity, possibly because the gear they're now using is also used by thousands of bedroom producers worldwide, but I've found that's true of almost all techno and house these days: despite a lot of strong tracks, 21st century Orbital similarly lacks that chunky '90s production and the overall analog 'atmosphere'. So I totally get if the more modern sound simply isn't for you. But compositionally, I'd say many of Underworld's best tracks are from this century, as well as a lot of their most daring, experimental tracks. 

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Underworld 4 life! As is mentioned, one of the best live shows I have borne witness to when they were touring Barbara Barbara in 2016! The setlist really couldn't have been better (unless they included Moaner which they did not). Still have to give Drift a spin.

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Also, much of their soundtrack work is fantastic. Their collaboration with Gabriel Yared soundtracking Breaking and Entering is stunningly beautiful, their score to Danny Boyle's Frankenstein play is eerie and really strange, and last year's Manchester Street Poem soundtrack is gorgeous.

Also 2005/6's Riverrun series is unfairly overlooked. Parts two and three - Pizza for Eggs and I'm a Big Sister are dubby and downtempo and ambient without a trace of 'soulless house' in sight.

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I think 'Dubnobass' through 'Everything Everything' are all classic, but yeah, I think they sound a bit different starting with A Hundred Days Off. Every album since then still has a couple bangers and earworms, but they never match what they did in the 90s. I saw them when they toured for Oblivion With Bells and it was a fantastic show. They had a ton of giant inflatable tubes that were lit from the inside, which would slowly move into different positions and colors throughout the show. Looked fucking dope.

The second time I saw them was for Barking. I drank a 5th of whiskey with my roommates in my friend's car in the parking lot. Those friends later got into an argument took off. They missed a hell of a show.

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Huge Underworld fan here and I have to disagree for the most part, though I wasn't really feeling Barbara Barbara, though still nice to hear them keep putting stuff out.

 

I actually put A Hundred Days Off and Oblivion With Bells up there with their greatest LPs, along with Second Toughest and dubnobass. I mean they're different styles, yeah, but not every artists maintains the same sound over decades--and when the do, it's rare that they don't become a bit drab and formulaic.

Those 2 albums late nineties/early mid 2000s if I'm not mistaken sound exactly what you'd expect for an electronica record to sound like of that era and nothing's wrong with that. But they go deeper and have retained the poetic musings, urban and industrial atmosphere, and layers of ambience. Crocodile and Beautiful Burnout are 2 of my all time fav Underworld tracks actually. And then let's not even talk about the epic euphoric rave of 2 Months Off and jazzy downtempo pure sex of Sola Sistm.

Barking I will say was another thing because while I actually like the album, I gotta be in that specific mood I think. It's  for sure more straightforward and quite moody to me and more human and less entrancing and open/progressive than their earlier work. Barbara Barbara I thought was a bit underwhelming and sounded more like noodlings and ideas they just wanted to get out, though was digging a few tracks . Looking forward to whatever they put out next.

I'd recommend seeing them live... We went a couple years ago and was so incredible.

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The amount of disappointment you may get from one of their newer albums cannot match 1/10th of the sting I felt when I ordered both Underneath the Radar and Change the Weather from a Barnes & Noble in 2001. They had to order them from the UK since there were none in stock. I paid like $60 for them since the exchange rate and going price of a CD were both absurd at the time. Most expensive turd I ever bought.

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On 2/15/2020 at 6:31 PM, Lane Visitor said:

I actually put A Hundred Days Off and Oblivion With Bells up there with their greatest LPs, along with Second Toughest and dubnobass.

Not even in the same ball park in regards to quality. I could not disagree with you more here.

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On 2/18/2020 at 1:46 AM, 714681746476436 said:

Not even in the same ball park in regards to quality. I could not disagree with you more here.

Fair ... To each their own. I will admit though that there some weak points if both those LPs and it's in the noodling and experimentation of mostly the second half of each of them, I do often have to skip a few tracks there that annoy me, but the 50 perfect of those LPs that I really dog outshine those mediocre parts. 

 

What is it about A Hundred Days Off for example that you guys think is shite or whatever? Is it just cuz it's not as tech or dnb-core as their earlier work or just cuz it's fashionable to not like artists' later work? 

 

Sure those albums are a bit more accessible and catchy then earlier work but I actually think Underworld is a great example of an artist that doesn't get lame or tired sounding or slaving to make mainstream hits as they progress, unlike many electronic veterans I can think of.

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On 2/23/2020 at 12:44 AM, Lane Visitor said:

What is it about A Hundred Days Off for example that you guys think is shite or whatever? Is it just cuz it's not as tech or dnb-core as their earlier work or just cuz it's fashionable to not like artists' later work? 

To be fair, A Hundred Days Off is not the worst example. I consider that to be the 'best of the bad' Underworld albums. However, it just feels so soulless to me, uninteresting. Dinosaur Adventure 3D is embarassingly bad, and the opening track just really dull. Twist is pretty good though (is that the country style thing?) and the end track is decent too

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Oblibion with Bells is a subtle and glorious album.  I consider "Beautiful burnout" as one of the standouts on there, and the weird "Ring Road" superbly catchy and could have been a solo track by Karl Hyde to be honest...

...which brings me to solo Edgeland project which I adore.  Very catchy poetic work, and underrated for sure.

Wasn't too keen on the Iggy Pop collaboration. 

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Yeah, Oblivion With Bell is a stunner. A strange album where almost every track sounds totally different to each other yet it hangs together so well as an album. 'Good Morning Cockerel' and 'Best Mamgu Ever' are two of my favourite Underworld songs.

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On 1/26/2020 at 4:24 PM, goDel said:

Saw them at Pinkpop in 1996. It was an awesome gig. The stories about Underworld gigs is def true. Great great live act. You're instantly drawn into being one with the rest of the audience, the band and the music. Magical stuff.

As far as albums concerned, I mostly share the sentiments in this thread. Old Underworld is very good. Dubnobass... is a classic. Haven't heard any new stuff.

I was there too! Helluva lineup. If I remember correctly, the "big three" at the time (Chemical Brothers, Orbital & Underworld) played in a row, and Prodigy were the closing act. Good times, not least because my first visit to an actual coffee shop preceded the festival ...

As for OP, the question seems to come at a peculiar time, seeing as they've just made a bonafide comeback. *shrug*

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Yes! And Dj set by Dave Clarke. Not sure about Chemical Brothers being there. I do remember a Dutch "big beat" artist being there though (Eboman), but they must have had Radiohead or RATM playing at the same time as Chemical Brothers, or something silly like that. (The classic Rage Against The Machine set was from the 1993 edition though)

Had to check the lineup  if the chem bros were there. And boy, that lineup still looks great...

https://nl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinkpop_1996

Also, on topic' been checking Drift. Some good tracks here and there. A bit hit and miss, but nothing to be ashamed of, imo. Thing with "classic" Underworld is that especially the first two albums were the most memorable and distinctive. For me atleast. I can remember specific tracks. With later albums, I tend to forget what was on there. Still might have had some good tracks on them. And I might even remember those tracks, but the link with the albums isn't there, if you know what I mean.

Ironically, this might be the consequence of the ipod/mp3/napster age. From the early 2000s on, the way I listened to music changed considerably. Since then, there was hardly time to dig into an album. Especially if albums didn't stand out. The good tracks were lifted out and the bad tracks ended up on the shit pile. Never to be heard again. The good ones were shuffled into the rest of the good tracks. Listening to albums became rare. I'm sure I'm not unique in this regard. But thinking about it, I was struck how things changed in a fundamental way back then. That might have been less about artists not making good albums, and more about the way I listened to music. 

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