I was just reading an article lamenting the loss of artiness (like the Talking Heads and perhaps Peter Gabriel presumably) in pop music, and I couldn’t help but think about the ever over-the-top Underworld. I tossed their new sonic stew Beaucoup rsh in the deck, and wondered how these reformed new wavers became the conscience of the electronic universe.
Not content with mantric chants or pseudo-soul style blather, but far too coy to let their compulsive studdered lyrics rise above speculation or in jokes, Karl Hyde provides deliverance for the unsatisred thinker in every ass shaking techno geek. Complimentary to Sonic Youths’ deconstruction of guitar music in the late 80’s, the Underworld formula is about ferocity and excess, reaching impatience, even anger. And yet they are able to keep a cynical eye on the precedings that instead of sucking the life out of the songs (they are mostly songs, rarely tracks), has become an inclusionary signature understood by fans all over the globe.
Subversion, or rather the willful manipulation of differences and attitudes has been the rap on art music for awhile in the MTV big money era, and in particular in the escapist utopia of the house culture. This willfulness (Like on the ‘I Feel Love’ inpired single King of Snake’) breaks the barrier of anonymity when you’re at a party, including all in the joke that each and or everyone gets in a different way, alternately provoking mind and ass. Nice one fellas.