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Tag: Underworld

Underworld’s “Between Stars”

Another day, another Underworld video. This track comes from their 2010 album Barking, which I have been listening to on the train on repeat the last couple weeks. I’m pretty sure it’s the only thing allowing me to desperately cling on to the last vestiges of my sanity. In fact, I am listening to it right now. And it is really good.

I hope you’re all back to work post-Thanksgiving and not feeling too holiday hungover. The holidays are a mess, but I hope you managed to find some joy in yours. Here’s a brief, incomplete list of things I managed to accomplish.

  • Sleep.
  • Eat.
  • Drink.
  • Talk to my family.
  • Nothing creative or productive at all.

I think those are all good things to do, except that last one but whatever. Also, I listened to this Underworld record MAYBE 10 times. Maybe more. I just can’t get away from it.

Underworld’s “Crocodile (Alligator)”

I’ve never seen this video before, though I have listened to 2007’s Oblivion With Bells like a thousand times. Unfortunately this video is for the radio edit of the track and about 3 minutes shorter than the album cut, but that doesn’t really matter since it’s still an absolutely fantastic piece of dreamy dance music.

The concept is simple; shoot them performing twice: once where they don’t move too much and they’re lit hard to one side, and again with a strobe where they’re moving. Sync, overlay, and intercut. I particularly like Darren Price’s sombrero. Rick Smith looks like he’s having a particularly good time. And, well, Karl Hyde, Karl Hyde is Karl Hyde, the singular voice of electronic music for me.

I was chatting with Charles on the IMs this morning about the M83 show he went to last night (he offered his extra ticket to me but I couldn’t go. Lame). This morning he said that it was a little weird for him because in his brain M83 has always been this perfect, inhuman thing, sounds that could not possibly come from a real person. He called it a “faceless future made from city lights, smoke, and slow motion.” While I don’t have the same relationship with M83 he does, I do feel the exact same way about Underworld. In 2007 they toured for Oblivion With Bells and again last year for Barking, but I never went to see them. Why not? I guess I was a little afraid that, like Charles with M83, that I would “hear the seams,” that they would be knocked from this exalted place in my brain to just a bunch of dudes who make really awesome music that I enjoy immensely.

It is funny though, that this really only applies to electro-oriented bands. The exact opposite is true of more traditional type bands. For example, the first time I saw The Magnetic Fields perform, I feel like I gained a much better perspective on their music, like somehow it made a lot more sense than it had hours previously. That is partly why I am so excited to see Jeff Magnum in January. You see it performed live, you hear the intonations, you hear the singer’s voice, you see their faces as they play, and it adds to an experience I already enjoy.

I don’t know why seeing Underworld wouldn’t be like that also, but it just feels different. Listening to Stephin Merritt play “Papa Was a Rodeo” live is different than hearing Underworld perform “Push Upstairs” live. One is a song I can digest, chords and layers and movement, whereas the other—in my brain, at least—is a sonic landscape perfectly tended and built.

I don’t know. Maybe I should just go see Underworld the next time they roll around and see how I feel.

Underworld’s “Push Upstairs”

I don’t know why I’ve never posted an Underworld video here before. It’s a little bit like last Spring when I asked why I’d never posted a Pulp video here before. It doesn’t make any sense. I love Underworld. They are easily one of my favorite electronic music acts. There are few other groups that I can listen to as often and repetitiously as I listen to Underworld.

And then you have “Push Upstairs” which is my favorite track from Beaucoup Fish which is my favorite Underworld album. It is the album that I picked up way back in the late 90s that shifter my interest in electronic music from mere curiosity to full on love. I love this album and I love this song. I cannot tell you the number of times I drove home from high school with this pumping in my car as I sped up 280 or back from Tara’s house in the middle of the night or on my way anywhere. And it really holds up still. To me it does not sound dated though laced heavily with nostalgia. Compare it to other late 90s electronic music from the same era—The Prodigy or Crystal Method to name a couple—and where you’d immediately know other bands were old, Underworld has a timelessness about their music. I could and do listen to this all the time and never ever get bored.