Given that most of us could write about a band we really love for a lot longer than a week, I want to set up some parameters, so we’re all on the same page here. As Hendrik said, I’m writing about the second phase of the band, which to most people is the only one; Underworld existed as a rock band (which I’ve never really heard) at first, one that contained Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, but that didn’t really get anywhere. It’s not exactly Ministry’s-first-album levels of embarrassing, but it’s fairly irrelevant to where the band would go. Technically the second phase of the band encompasses when Hyde and Smith got into electronic music, recruited Darren Emerson, and started putting out singles and remixes (sometimes as Underworld, sometimes as Lemon Interrupt or Steppin’ Razor; I’m pretty happy with their eventual choice of name, really), and so ends when he left after 2000’s live album Everything, Everything. There was then a third phase of Hyde and Smith alone, which continues to this day and has produced at this point as many albums as Underworld mk II did; I’ll be covering those albums as well.
However, in an effort to safeguard my sanity/time, as well as to make a point (I suppose), I’m only going to be covering the commercially released, non-soundtrack albums. Or at least, that’s all I’m promising I’ll cover; my very next post will be about a non-album single. So no RiverRun Project, no Live in Tokyo (although if anyone knows where I can get a copy, I’d be indebted), no Sunshine, and so on. Just the albums, dubnosbasswithmyheadman through to Barking, plus Everything, Everything and whatever else I can fit in.
I’ll also be doing things out of order; because I only became a fan of Underworld partway through their career, writing about those releases in chronological order would quickly become a tangle of “so when I first heard this song it was after/before x.” Not that the week is going to be just or even primarily personal reminiscence; but any of us deep enough into a band to do a OWOB on them is going to have some sort of personal connection to the music, and quite frankly I think that avoiding it is both futile and, in some obscure way, cheating. So the order of albums is going to be largely autobiographical.
So, Underworld. For the past three or four months, I don’t seem to be able to get through a week without listening to at least one Underworld album. Shall we talk about why that might be?