INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Zebra NOVEMBER 18, 2009 - by Tim Finney
UNDERWORLD VS MISTERONS: ATHENS
Enough column inches have been devoted to the majesty of Underworld over the years to make an introduction redundant here. Now the creators of arguably mor timeless anthems than any of their contemporaries have put the spotlight on some of the music that has influenced them with the Athens - named for frontman Karl Hyde's painting which adorns the cover rather than any connection to the Greek capital.
The tracks that Hyde, Rick Smith and studio colleagues The Misterons (AKA live member Darren Price and Junior Boy's Own co-founder Steven Hall) gather together here are a million miles away from the frenetic energy of the Underworld live show, but anyone familiar with their albums won't be overly surprised by what's on offer. Alice Coltrane's Journey in Satchidananda takes you straight into a dusty bar smoked out by jazz cigarettes before '70s jazz-fusionists Mahavishnu Orchestra slowly loop their way to a frenetic climax on You Know, You Know. One of Squarepusher's less insane moments, Theme From Sprite, brings the funk, Soft machine take prog rock into lounge realms with Penny Hitch and then Bryan Ferry's unmistakable voice picks up the pace ever so slightly on Roxy Music's 2 H.B..
Just when you think a quick kip might be in order, Underworld's 1997 sax-laden techy prog offer Oh sets the chug factor to eleven, but then another left-turn into the jazzy IDM of Laurent Garnier's Gnaumankoudji (Broken Afro Mix) precedes the disco funk workout of Miroslav Vitous' New York City and Hyde's signature vocal stream of consciousness on his Brian Eno collaboration Beebop Hurry (conceived for Eno's Sydney Opera House residency earlier this year). It's as logical a conclusion as any for a mix which truly follows its own path - business as usual for Underworld really.