Underworld - Classic or Dud?

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I've always been under the impression that, a few slammin' singles aside, Underworld was the epitome of style over substance. However, hearing "King Of Snake" for the first time and going gaga over their live album is forcing me to reevaluate.

Therefore, I turn to my peers. What say you - is Underworld fab or foul? Beauty or booty? Wonderful or worthless?

Dan Perry, Tuesday, 17 October 2000 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Eh? Style over substance? Weren't you one of the people who heartily recommended _dubnobasswithmyheadman_ to me a month ago? :)

Josh, Tuesday, 17 October 2000 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Um, yes. This was after spending THREE YEARS trying to get into the damn thing. I now like it a good bit, but I'm not nearly as passionate about that album as I am about many of their singles, such as "Dirty Epic", "Mmm Skyscraper I Love You", "Born Slippy (original)", "Pearl's Girl", "Cups", and "King Of Snake".

I recommmend _dubnobass..._ because that's the best Underworld album and it's a genuinely good album. _Second Toughest..._ isn't nearly as strong and hearing "Push Upstairs" and "Jumbo" put me off of getting _Beaucoup Fish_, which I'll admit might have been a mistake because "King Of Snake" and "Cups" both rank up there among the best songs they've ever done. (But is it another case where the single is stormin' and the album is limpid? I don't know.)

Dan Perry, Tuesday, 17 October 2000 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Dan, the thing with Underworld is that they have very consistent production and arrangement skills, which means that really you're gonna like each song based on how strong the tune is. Hence the singles seem fab, and everything else comparatively drab.

But "Beaucoup Fish" is worth getting. Both "Push Upstairs" improve the more familiar you are with them - both seem insanely repetitive to begin with, but I found both grew on me enormously once I went walking around the city with them on my headphones. Plus, you're missing out on "Cups" (deep house par excellence), "Bruce Lee" (hip hop meets Detroit techno), "Kittens" (a storming epic), "Something Like A Mama" (jungle-inflected track like "Pearl's Girl" with its tongue in its cheek) and of course "King Of Snake". It's a strong album.

Tim, Tuesday, 17 October 2000 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I never really had a problem with Underworld being style over substance--more power to people and bands who can pull that off as consistently as they have. So, finding out (via numerous listens and re-evaluations and re-re-evaluations--I'm thinking of "Second Toughest..." here, an album I literally didn't listen to for over a year because it seemed to be such an unworthy follow-up to "Dubnobass...") that "Hey, there might be something more here than just a storming tune or some nice atmospherics" has just been the icing on the cake (or maybe the lovely dense cake hiding under the sweet and pretty batter?). The live album has certainly helped in this assessment, but it has also made me wonder lately why so many folks slag off "Jumbo," which is really a beautiful and (I think) quite emotional song (despite the standard Hyde lyrical meanderings, which I wouldn't have any other way, of course). So many reviews of "Everything Everything" have inexplicably picked on my dear "Jumbo" as the dud track, and I have to wonder if it's because it simply lessens the momentum of the album (albeit briefly) or if I have been hoodwinked into liking a song that might, upon further reflection, just be a cute little toss-off ditty that will eventually fade in comparison to the admitted genius of "Cowgirl" or "...Skyscraper..." Whatever the case, "Jumbo" is what elevated "Beaucoup Fish" from good to great for me, and served more than any other recent track (yes, even more than the overrated "Born Slippy") to reaffirm my belief that Underworld are fab, beauty, and most assuredly wonderful.

Max Jones, Wednesday, 18 October 2000 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Underworld for me have always fallen down due to Karl Hyde's lyrics - back-of-a-fag-packet undergraduate cut-up nonsense which at best just distracts and at worst actively spoils the music, turning it from wide-ranging and danceable into a nasty urban noir mess. And his wannabeatnik delivery nobs me off, too.

Tom, Thursday, 19 October 2000 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
I kinda fall between the stools here...there albums are slightly dissapointing (with the exception of Beaucoup Fish)...a fair amount of their output is wank...but stuff like "Rez" and "Jumbo" are those moments when dance music just transcends itself...stunning......probably because Karl Hyde cuts out that annoying gibberish

Michael Bourke, Monday, 4 December 2000 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

*Underworld*? Mmm...yes, well, Josh was kind enough to send it to me but I haven't read the damned thing yet. Well, actually, I read the opening section yclept "The Triumph of Death" when it appeared in Harper's (see, there's Harper's and death again...that's why the mag's so goth), and I liked *White Noise* quite a bit as you all know so I can't imagine any recent Delillo not being any good, you know?

Michael Daddino, Monday, 4 December 2000 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...
I thought underworld was just crap cause of the lyrics. but man, after hearing Jumbo, i beleive these guys to be masters of the art thaat is music, if not Gods. So much can be said for a single track to cause such revelation. by the way as cryptic as these lyrics are, why do all songs have references to "the city"? am i the only one that's noticed that.

Keyur Patel, Saturday, 23 December 2000 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Because they are like so urban and hip.

Josh, Saturday, 23 December 2000 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
Underworld, very tricky proposition. When they're good they are well amazing (Rez, Skyscraper, Cups, Juanita), and it doesn't depend on the vocals/no-vocals division of tracks, see for instance Cups which has lovely vocals. The long-players have all been patchy, usually the first 3 or 4 tracks are storming and then anything can happen. The 2nd half of Dubnobass...has some great stuff (Dirty Epic, Cowgirl), Secondthoughts never recovers and Beacoup Fish has Kittens, which is...is...the sound of taking lots of drugs and feeling very expansive :) So between classic and dud, leaning on the classic side.

o.munoz, Thursday, 18 January 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

After "Rez" I could just about forgive them anything.

Stevo, Thursday, 18 January 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

"Kittens". I heard a RealAudio excerpt of this when _BF_ came out and was suitably staggered. I was all set to run to the store to buy the album when I heard "Push Upstairs"... ew. (I've since grown used to that song, but I don't see anything overly special about it.)

Dan Perry, Thursday, 18 January 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Underworld have never struck me as self-consciously hip. When I listen to their music, I hear genuine angst, not posturing. Of course, if you don't *like* angst...

Snow Dog, Thursday, 18 January 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Well, okay. Having had an opportunity to at least listen to the first half of _Beaucoup Fish_, I'm somewhat staggered by how much I actually LIKE it! Granted, it's all stuff I've heard before, but if the rest of the album holds up, I'm going to have to temper many of the negative things I've said about them.

Dan Perry, Friday, 19 January 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

So, after that initial euphoric burst, I've come down somewhat on encountering "Winjer", although I note that as far as vaguely-ambient Underworld nonsense goes, it's pretty damn cool. So, we're still in the plus column...

Dan Perry, Friday, 19 January 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

four months pass...
It's obvious none of you were there in their 80s days, nor early 90s. Unfortunately, there are a lot of new fans of theirs with the release of BF, many of which don't understand them. You need to listen to an album fully (especially the 2 earlier ones), and repeatedly, and definitely see them live a couple of times. I find Karl's lyrics to be soothing oftentimes, and can sit around interpreting them for hours (even though they are, self admittedly, nonsense). There are other commercialized techno bands/groups/DJs where the lyrics distract a LOT more (Fatboy Slim? Daft Punk?) - and many are more repetitive than much of U/w's stuff. If you're listening to them to find dance music, find something else. Much of their stuff has been, and still is, ambient & moody, with the occasional club anthem strewn in. I find them a unique and rare band (well 2 of them, now), one which actually tries to innovate & mix their own stuff (look actual guitars).

Admittedly, I am biased (met them live several times) and I am more of an ambient/idm fan (ala FSOL & AFX) & some trance (Juno Reactor), and have been for over a decade, so there's your caveat and explanation of my fangirl-ishness.

UW_fangirl, Friday, 25 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

They're great live and they're great to dance to when you're off your nuts. What more do you want?

Dirty Dirty Dirty Dirty Vicar, Friday, 25 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

LAGER LAGER LAGER LAGER LAGER LAGER....etc.

I could listen to that all day. Or at least for about 4 minutes, when I'd get really irritated and want to bust up something. Still.

For the most part I find Underworld a bit boring but I still have their CDs because I like some of the songs. They're really not a classic or a dud, to be honest. They're more an existance.

Ally, Tuesday, 29 May 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...
rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez rez

rhamnose, Monday, 18 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
Underworld for me have always fallen down due to Karl Hyde's lyrics - back-of-a-fag-packet undergraduate cut-up nonsense which at best just distracts and at worst actively spoils the music, turning it from wide-ranging and danceable into a nasty urban noir mess. And his wannabeatnik delivery nobs me off, too.

Strange - that's what initially attracted me to Underworld; and was the first step I took towards electronic/dance music - I hadn't heard any interesting throwaway cutup soundbytes-strung-together fractured- narrative stuff before, and the music seemed to be the perfect accompaniment to this - I couldn't imagine Karl Hyde-isms succeeding over a guitar backdrop etc. And as someone a very long way away indeed from Underworld's BritCity; it seemed oh so very exotic&mysterious&sexy. Inauthenticity of musical tourism, and all that guff; but Underworld were something I could be palpably excited by; and a doorway to a whole new world of music, apologies for RAGING CLICHES.

Ess Kay, Friday, 12 April 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one of the things I like about Underworld is the different moods on the albums. Cowgirl vs. Tongue. Pearls girl vs. Blueski. they do both the rock-out and the chill out pretty well

Ron, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Classic, classic and more classic. As classic as they get. Once in a while I feel compelled to go back and play everything I have by them: all the albums, seven bootlegs, ten singles. I sometimes have to dig out their remixes too. There's nobody else where I do this.

And I love Karl Hyde's lyrics.

Martin Skidmore, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

curiously enoght it was through underworld that i found this site. i frequently post on the foums at [url]http://www.dirty.org[/url] and fellow poster [b]girlthursday[/b] (minna) posted a link to this site.

i like all of their albums but [i]dubnobass..[/i] is defintely my favourite. i love the fact that the albums contain pure dance floor killers next to more downtempo tracks like [i]dirty epic[/i] and [i] m.e[/i]

they are also jaw-droppingly fantastic live - i've seen them seven times - and they were really the pioneers of taking dance music into the live arena and in so doing paved the way for bands like [b] orbital, chemical brothers[/b] and [/b]the prodigy[/b] to follow in their footsteps.

there's plenty of their live gigs available on audiogalaxy including the superb european club gig. fans should also check out [url] http://www.underworldlive.com[/url] which is an official site where you can download soundboard recordings of some of their gigs as well as some recent studio stuff such as the blue mountain sessions.

matt, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

NOONE HAS MENTIONED "DARK AND LONG", NOONE. Well maybe someone, but it's a classic too.

Ronan, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

does anyone else hear the chords to Brian & Roger Eno's "Always Returning" in "Born Slippy"?
since "Deep Blue Day" (also from Apollo) was in the movie, is this a connection/(not so)hidden-reference?

Paul, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

five months pass...
'luetin' was playing on the radio as i drove home, and afterwards the dj said "Hardcore electronica from Underworld!" which i thought was funny

ron (ron), Friday, 20 September 2002 00:04 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Has anyone listened to "Tiny Clicks" and "Headset", the two "vaguely-ambient Underworld nonsense" (as Dan puts it) b-sides on the "Two Months Off" single? Both excellent - "Headsets" in particular is pretty fabulous - and they'd be about the first time I've really warmed to Underworld's non-dancefloor biznizz. Will have to think about getting "A Hundred Days Off" now.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Friday, 20 September 2002 03:26 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The hilarious thing is that "Winjer" is now one of my favorite songs off of _Beaucoup Fish_!

Those two tracks are great. I think I need to live with them a little more before they really sink in, but so far they're much better than, say, the ambient tracks on the "Pearl's Girl" single. (None of them can touch "Tongue", though.)

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Friday, 20 September 2002 12:06 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

CLASSIC of course, Karl's lyrics and delivery an' all but again i urge you to seek out Underworld's early material if you like a larf...'change the weather', 'underneath the radar' esp. - i can almost see them supporting Talk Talk with It Bites on tour in 1987 hahahaha

blueski, Friday, 20 September 2002 12:19 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Ronan, Dark & Long dropped into their live sets gets me going.

Alan (Alan), Friday, 20 September 2002 12:22 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

maybe we should do a Taking Sides - 'Dark & Long' vs 'Dark & Long (Dark Train)'

blueski, Friday, 20 September 2002 15:42 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"Dark & Long" any day. That bass line is to DIE FOR.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Friday, 20 September 2002 16:21 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Hmmmm they played Dark Train last time and it was pretty amazing.

Ronan (Ronan), Saturday, 21 September 2002 09:51 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

they never played Dark Train or Dark & Long the times i saw them - bastads

blueski, Saturday, 21 September 2002 13:05 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
can anybody give me an explanation over the song born slippy? Tell me what is behind the lyrics... thnx

bart, Saturday, 18 January 2003 16:23 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Born Slippy is about placentas.

now, on to my ancedote, which is about how the promo vinyl we got for 'King of Snake' was a 12" and os I put it on at 33 and it was SUPER FUNKY like WOW until Karl's vox came in and it sounded like he was a dying robot from planet Opium. So I put it on 45 and it turned into house music, which while quite good was not nearly as enjoyable as the 33 version.

Tom Millar (Millar), Saturday, 18 January 2003 17:50 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...
Dubnobasswithmyheadman- is tHe bEST underworld album. Fav track: Dirty Epic. anyone that don't like that song's gotta be heartless.

whoever (whoever), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 07:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

My fav one is Beaucoup Fish. Jumbo sounds more like Wire than Elastica ever did.

echo...

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 09:16 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I thought "Spoonman" off "Dubnobass..." was flippin' ace!!! No one I know seems to like it!!!!! Mind you, I like repetitive techno bollox!!!!!!

I also went to one of the concerts (Broadcast on Radio 1!!!!!) at around the time of "Dubnobass...", (The same night as they found the body of Kurt Cobain!!!!) and it was grebt/GRATE/etc!!!!! Unlike the recent "live" album, it was one big long DJ mix style jam, mixing in various bits of their songs. The track on the live album which mixes "Cowgirl" and "Rez" is nearest equivalent- imagine a whole concert like that with most of the tracks from "Dubnobass..." and an early version "Born Slippy"!!!! (I've actually got a tape of it somewhere, taped of the radio...)

Old Fart!!! (oldfart_sd), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 10:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

OMG! I did the same 33-45 mistake with the "Kittens" promo, with the same effect: the slow version easily trumped the "right" version.

Anyways, Underworld is still classic because did I mention that "Tin There" is basically my favorite techno barnburner ever?

Eric H. (Eric H.), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 17:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I don't care how much everybody hates it, I think "Underneath the Radar" is a fucking GREAT 80s pop song.

The kickass house/blues romp "Big Mouth" (with some guy named Philadelphia Slim whom I've never heard of on harmonica!!) is another awesome underrated early Underworld song. Underworld kicks ass.

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 17:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

total classic. however, i was one of those american kids who was rather impressionable when trainspotting came out and when record labels were trying to push 'electronica' down everyone's throats.. but stuff like dubnobassman, second toughest and the pearl's girl maxi single kept me around for good. second toughest is one of the albums ive played more consistantly than anything else over the last 5-6 years.

bill stevens (bscrubbins), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 18:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

www.freakytrigger.co.uk/underworld.html


(I'm sorry I won't pimp out that article ever again, this is the millionth time, prob haven't written anything decent for free since, it was 18 months ago)

Ronan (Ronan), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 20:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Classic. They're one of the only bands my brother ever turned me on to. Second Toughest, I have to agree, is killer.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 8 January 2004 06:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

four months pass...
I am listening to _Beaucoup Fish_ right now and realizing that the only song on it that I dislike is "Bruce Lee".

VengaDan Perry (Dan Perry), Thursday, 20 May 2004 15:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

the thread about electronic music that moves you reminded me of this band.

bill stevens (bscrubbins), Thursday, 20 May 2004 15:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

DUD ^

24 hours with the King of Snake. (SNAKE!) (ex machina), Thursday, 20 May 2004 15:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i love Bruce Lee, where does that female monologue come from?

stevem (blueski), Thursday, 20 May 2004 16:07 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hyde's lyrics are starting to annoy me more here and there these days, particularly on Luetin tho that is a fantastic track (a classic case of a track you are just casually listening to, a few minutes pass and then you just hit a moment and realise where you are who you are what's going on etc.)

stevem (blueski), Thursday, 20 May 2004 16:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I made a playlist on Spotify of the tracks I now prefer. Sadly, not all of the ones I'd like to include were available.

https://open.spotify.com/user/brotherlovesdub/playlist/2e1kCLXPU4cypdYShxeLMC

brotherlovesdub, Thursday, 22 September 2016 20:17 (one year ago) Permalink

omg M.E. is SO GREAT AND UNDERRATED

laraaji p. henson (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 22 September 2016 20:40 (one year ago) Permalink

I have loved "Luetin" since I first heard it even though I spent like 3-4 years calling it "Lutein"

¶ (DJP), Thursday, 22 September 2016 20:44 (one year ago) Permalink

holy crap I am literally just now realizign it is not called "Lutein"

laraaji p. henson (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 22 September 2016 20:47 (one year ago) Permalink

also I keep calling it "Juniata" bcz that is the name of a neighborhood in Philly

laraaji p. henson (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 22 September 2016 20:48 (one year ago) Permalink

good christ i love m.e., it's one of their hippiest sunrise on ibiza tracks too.

nomar, Thursday, 22 September 2016 20:52 (one year ago) Permalink

I've tried with that new album like five times and I just find it so boring. Can't get into it at all.

I also was not down until I listened to this live date from this year which brought it all together for me

Brakhage, Thursday, 22 September 2016 21:30 (one year ago) Permalink

I've never understood why people are down on M.E

From day one, it's always been one of the (many) highlights on Dubno for me

groovypanda, Friday, 23 September 2016 08:29 (one year ago) Permalink

if you dig you can find the original version from '91 back when it was intended to go on the follow up to Change the Weather

frogbs, Friday, 23 September 2016 11:11 (one year ago) Permalink

whoa seriously?? I am investigating this at once

laraaji p. henson (Stevie D(eux)), Friday, 23 September 2016 16:57 (one year ago) Permalink

also xp to Brakhage does it sound all that diff from the album cuts?

laraaji p. henson (Stevie D(eux)), Friday, 23 September 2016 17:00 (one year ago) Permalink

It's not nearly as varied as the Tokyo 2005 date linked above (which may be because they didn't have time for a longer set, or because their live performances are more lackluster now, like people are saying), and yeah it sounds identical to the LP like Kraftwerk live dates, but it has great energy because of the crowd. The tracks that I thought just laid there inert on the new record sounded a lot more vital to me, I think it's worth tracking down

Brakhage, Friday, 23 September 2016 20:53 (one year ago) Permalink

Which reminds me, thanks Brad for the YT playlist of the '05 gig

Brakhage, Friday, 23 September 2016 20:59 (one year ago) Permalink

the Tokyo 05 date is great but the constant edging of "Mmm Skyscraper" with no drop or climax or anything is so odd!

laraaji p. henson (Stevie D(eux)), Saturday, 24 September 2016 01:04 (one year ago) Permalink

four months pass...

1996 Dutch doc filmed at a Megadog night in Leeds with live footage and attempted interviews with Underworld.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEMRR7paAgo

Noel Emits, Tuesday, 21 February 2017 18:08 (one year ago) Permalink

Think that would have been 93/94 when they did that Midi Circus tour with the likes of Underworld, Aphex, Orbital, Eat Static etc

groovypanda, Tuesday, 21 February 2017 20:28 (one year ago) Permalink

Actually yeah, misinfo. It's not a Megadog night, just Bob Dog. And of course Emmerson had left by '96. I was going to say the set didn't seem to have changed much since '93/'94, although I guess they still play a lot of that stuff. Well, totally prime era then.

Noel Emits, Tuesday, 21 February 2017 20:53 (one year ago) Permalink

Further corrections. This *was* a Megadog, and Emerson has one m.

Noel Emits, Tuesday, 21 February 2017 20:57 (one year ago) Permalink

one year passes...

there are TOO MANY DANG live releases (upwards of like a dozen???) but I will say, beyond "Everything, Everything" which is def the most accessible and digestible, the one from Tokyo in 2005 might be the best?

the masseduction of lauryn hill (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 15 March 2018 13:42 (one month ago) Permalink

I need to explore all of the 2007/2008 releases more, though. They switched the setlists up each gig.

the masseduction of lauryn hill (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 15 March 2018 13:46 (one month ago) Permalink

Tokyo 2005 is the 2nd best b/c of the sound quality, I think. I haven't heard those LiveHereNow releases in a while but I remember the two I bought being quite good. You can hear "Banstyle" on those, right?

there was an awesome and very recent live set that I think we were discussing on another thread - lots of improv, excellent set list, etc. etc....it was like they turned the clock back 15 years. but the sound quality was not so good. alas.

frogbs, Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:03 (one month ago) Permalink

The one time I saw Underworld live I got overexcited and double dropped half and hour before they came on. I don't remember one second of it.

chap, Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:45 (one month ago) Permalink

oh noooooo

the masseduction of lauryn hill (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:51 (one month ago) Permalink

I saw them in NYC on the Barb, Barb tour and it was AMAZING but it basically just felt like a greatest-hits DJ set, v little improvisation

the masseduction of lauryn hill (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:52 (one month ago) Permalink

They did a bit of improv at the show they did at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam last year, but other than that, it's essentially the exact same show every night. There is no more 'improv' in Underworld's set. Until they decide to tour their ambient / downtempo work in smaller venues similar to Karl's solo shows, i'm done seeing them live.

brotherlovesdub, Thursday, 15 March 2018 18:23 (one month ago) Permalink

Tokyo 2005 is probably the best complete show, but I have real fondness for the Ibiza August 8 2010 show (which I think was broadcast as an Essential Mix), which has an intense 'we're here to party' vibe that you'd hope for at that venue

Brakhage, Thursday, 15 March 2018 19:10 (one month ago) Permalink

ok i am listening to tokyo 2005 for the first time rn and

wee-ow

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Friday, 16 March 2018 23:54 (one month ago) Permalink

Tokyo 2005 is probably the best complete show, but I have real fondness for the Ibiza August 8 2010 show (which I think was broadcast as an Essential Mix), which has an intense 'we're here to party' vibe that you'd hope for at that venue

― Brakhage, Thursday, March 15, 2018 2:10 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

essential mix at privilege! that was in my top ten that year and is late enough to include "scribble"

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Saturday, 17 March 2018 00:01 (one month ago) Permalink

ahh hah ha always thought the announcer was saying 'A privilege' not 'AT Privilege', good shout

Brakhage, Saturday, 17 March 2018 00:52 (one month ago) Permalink

i was wondering if Underworld we're still 'talked about' on ILX.. but it's been only 3 days. :-)

i was going to bump the thread because i got Hundred Days Off and Oblivion With Bells at a bin sale for 2 euros each. Could have bought Barking too (for the same price) but i seemed to recall this was some kind of collab album with all kinds of dubstep hipsters, and I like the 'regular' Underworld sound.

Oblivion with Bells is a little underrated, it seems, i think it has some nice new ambient pop vibes going on, noodling along nicely - too bad about the half-rapped track, where either Hyde couldn't be bother to match his lyrics to the music, or probably more interestlingy, Smith didn't want to match his music in free jazz improv style to Hyde. missed chance.

Anyway, HundredDaysOff has a couple of massive singles, which ain't so bad either.

Ludo, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 16:25 (one month ago) Permalink

Barking is a pretty good album despite the collaborators. There are some great anthems on there and also some beautiful and dark songs too. Moon In Water and Louisiana are fantastic. I say go back and get Barking if it's cheap. It's a fun album.

brotherlovesdub, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 20:10 (one month ago) Permalink

"Pretty good" is probably the accurate assessment of Barking. I don't think it's that interesting and while the first three songs all sound massive I don't think they're nearly interesting enough musically in the way Underworld typically can be. The rest of it has its moment but I never listen to it. I said it upthread iirc (or elsewhere) but it doesn't really sound like them, and it worried me for their subsequent work (Barbara Barbara and the Eno stuff proved me wrong.) I rated it over OWB back when it came out but I was dead wrong. I think the '90s albums are all classic, BBWFASF is almost on par, AHDO and OWB are both pretty excellent and Barking is in that "pretty good" area.

omar little, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 20:18 (one month ago) Permalink

last time I listened through their catalogue those were the two that seemed most worthy of reappraisal. especially OWB - I remember a lot of people being underwhelmed by that one at the time, but I think it's held up incredibly well, I still hear new things each time I listen. some days I think it's their best. they were doing a lot of very interesting things during that period, a lot of which also show up on that Tokyo set. I even kinda like "Ring Road", though you're right, something's off about it...even the beat it was just jacked from a preset, which UW never seems to do otherwise.

Don't be afraid of Barking - there's no real dubstep on it (the track you're probably thinking of, "Hamburg Hotel", is not really dubstep in the way you're fearing). I think it does lose something by being *just* remixes but the tunes themselves are generally very good. You definitely want to seek out some of the originals though. I was really disappointed that the second disc was sort of a half-assed demo thing rather that the "Barking minus collaborators" album we were all hoping for. Some of the live versions of those tracks are absolutely excellent - "Strumpet", "Always Loved a Film" (especially the "Silver Boots" version), "You Do Scribble", and "Diamond Jigsaw" (I'll never forgive Paul Van Dyk for just paving over the chord change, that's the money part of the tune!). Plus I happen to think the original "Moon in Water" was way better. But Barking is still very good.

frogbs, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 20:28 (one month ago) Permalink

I rated it over OWB back when it came out but I was dead wrong.

same and i was also wrong

still love barking, some of my favorite underworld jams are buried in the second half like "between stars" and "grace"

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 20:33 (one month ago) Permalink

and i always forget how amazing "bird 1" is

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 20:34 (one month ago) Permalink

i loved scribble but was really disappointed by barking

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 20:36 (one month ago) Permalink

that's a great single but the live versions that appeared as early as 2005 were truly mindblowing. THAT is what I wanted them to capture in the studio

frogbs, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 20:58 (one month ago) Permalink

I liked Scribble a lot upon release but Bird 1 is the jam that has had the longest shelf life. There are moments or lyrics that work great in other songs (like "The sound of a barking dog on a loop/A plane rises in the crystal blue/The rhythm of keys swinging in your hand/The rhythm of light coming out of your fingers" from Always Loved a Film) but the songs as a whole don't work as well as they could have w/more traditional untraditional Underworld structure and production. I don't think the album is bad by any means, it was just a wrong turn for them.

omar little, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 23:09 (one month ago) Permalink

There's a noise in Bird 1 that repeats that kills the song for me. I love Strumpet and still play it a bunch, but they ruined the track once they took it to the studio. I would love to discuss the meaning of the lyrics of that song though. I have a theory, but I'd like to hear other theories.

brotherlovesdub, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 23:20 (one month ago) Permalink

Barking rules a lot, the weakest song on it is "Scribble" which is still fantastic

Embalming is a flirty business (DJP), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 01:01 (one month ago) Permalink

also I play "Bird 1" something like once a week

Embalming is a flirty business (DJP), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 01:02 (one month ago) Permalink

oh yeah i believe *looks up ilx thread with my posts* i felt the first three songs (bird 1, film, scribble) were fire then it fell off

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 03:36 (one month ago) Permalink

i was at Berlin nightclub in chicago & 'scribble' came on at like 1am it was so epic of an experience ill never be down on that song

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 03:37 (one month ago) Permalink

'film' is def amazing also

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 03:38 (one month ago) Permalink

the live set from 2010 i listened to a whole bunch more than the album but i also just liked the energy of the crowd noise & shit

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 03:38 (one month ago) Permalink

yea thanks for alerting me to the existence of that. I definitely think an EE-style live recording of this stuff would've blown Barking out of the water. what an awesome set.

frogbs, Wednesday, 21 March 2018 13:44 (one month ago) Permalink

thanks for this fellas, I'll probably get Barking the next time around. Judging the crowd that usually frequents this particular shop, it won't be gone, since it does not feature beardy guys playing folk songs.

Ludo, Wednesday, 21 March 2018 14:43 (one month ago) Permalink

Ah, I bet they'll be putting on those gigs shortly...

Mark G, Wednesday, 21 March 2018 14:58 (one month ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

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