Underworld Push 2010’s Multimedia Conquest into 2011 Electronic Superstars Release Latest Single; Music and Sound Score for Danny Boyle’s “Frankenstein”
“As close to a household name as respectable electronic artists are likely to get.”
“Still brilliant, still essential, still peerless.”
Underworld rolled into 2010 packing magic and zeal to spare. Flexing their creative muscle across music, television, performance, art and technology, the multimedia extravaganza founded by Rick Smith and Karl Hyde released their sixth studio album, dropped a stack of thumping singles, toured extensively, debuted on US Late Night television, and presented an art exhibit in Japan. Wrapping up an astoundingly successful year with a new single, the electronic powerhouse reunites with Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle and appears with David Lynch on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic in early 2011.
Capitalizing on the collaborative spirit that has constantly reinvigorated their sound and imagination, Underworld’s sixth studio album, “Barking” (OM Records) featured a slew of guests including Paul Van Dyk, Dubfire, Mark Knight and D. Ramirez. USA Today praised Barking’s first single “Always Loved a Film” as “a dizzying seven-minute house groove saturated in funk.” The cover artwork for Barking was created by design troupe Tomato (which Smith and Hyde co-founded with John Warwicker in the early ’90s). Their latest single “Bird 1” dropped November 23rd, featuring remixes by Pete Tong and Mark Broom.
From their earliest days, Underworld have been multimedia provocateurs, pushing the boundaries of post-modern musicianship, inspiring icons like long time collaborator Brian Eno to seek them out for the Pure Scenius project, where they played largely improvised gigs at Sydney’s Opera House and at the Brighton Festival.
Ahead of the curve, Underworld were one of the first acts of their scale to leverage social media to their advantage, directly selling their own records online in 2005 with the Riverrun Project, an Internet/fan exclusive series of mix sets. In 2005 they beamed a show live from Tokyo free to the world via www.underworldlive.com in what was a world first. In August 2009 they continued their series of incredible groundbreaking live audio-visual broadcasts becoming the first artists to broadcast live to iPhone users globally, from The Fox Oakland Theater.
This past August Karl Hyde had his first solo art exhibit in Tokyo where the album debuted at #1 on the charts. Titled “What’s Going on in your head while you’re dancing,” the exhibit showcased over 90 pieces of Hyde’s visual art. In addition, The Edinburgh Festival staged a Frantic Assembly and National Theatre of Scotland production titled “Beautiful Burnout” that won a Fringe First Award.
Proving no medium was immune, Underworld beat fellow electronic giants Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, the Prodigy, Crystal Method and even Kraftwerk to the US Late Night TV slot, appearing on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Thanks in large part to its featured role in Danny Boyle’s movie, Trainspotting, Underworld’s biggest hit “Born Slippy” wound up selling over 1 million copies. Years later, the collaboration with Boyle continues to break new ground as Smith & Hyde blur the lines between arts, providing the music and sound score to Boyle’s theatrical adaptation of Frankenstein opening at London’s National Theatre in February. Prior to that, on January 17, they appear on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, with special guest David Lynch in support of Lynch’s remix music project.
As the rest of the music industry stumbles across an ever-shifting landscape, Underworld’s decades-strong stride across genres and mediums continues unabated.
Infinite Love for Underworld:
“Underworld’s most consistent album in more than a decade.”
“Embraces their classic sound but adds an undeniably fresh vibe”
“Underworld’s songwriting stays nonconformist, evading dance-music obviousness for longer melodies and more literary, elusive thoughts.”
“Barking inhabits an odd place: half-dolorous electro-pop, half-affirming sunnyside jams.”
“Earnest emotions surprisingly suit these dance-floor surrealists”
“The combination of über-flâneur Karl Hyde’s Whitmanesque lyricism and Rick Smith’s virtuoso beat-mastering makes it pretty much impossible to walk in to an Underworld set without a big dopey grin seizing your face for a good couple of hours.”
“Burning even brighter in a kind of blazing twilight that just might be the sun coming up after an all-nighter”
“Barking is the sound of veterans re-energised”
“Skipping beats and cavernous bass”
“Up with their hypnotically melodic best”
“Ranks with their very best material to date”
“A blistering return”
“Still unmistakably Underworld”
“Thumping Party Starters”