Everyone’s pretty creative with albums and releases these days. When acts aren’t letting you pay what you want, they’re giving ’em away. Some even commit to weekly singles. Well, UK electronic gods Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, aka Underworld, have taken note. Come November 23rd, the two will release Athens, the first in a two part compilation series that will take the duo to new, exciting places.
“The overall mood is jazz and improvisation,” they digressed to Resident Advisor (RA). “There is very little playing in a lot of people’s records in the dance and DJ world these days, but one thing Underworld have always liked is musicianship. It doesn’t stop us loving machine music and house music and everything that goes with it, but the idea with this album was to highlight records we liked that we thought had great live playing on them.”
Fans can expect tracks that cull from Mahavishnu Orchestra, Osunlade, Moodymann, Alice Coltrane, Squarepusher, The Soft Machine, Laurent Garnier, and even a collaboration between Brian Eno and Hyde himself. The two worked on the track, as RA summarizes, “during Eno’s residency at Sydney’s Opera House earlier this year, “Beebop Hurry” features Hyde performing one of his trademark stream-of-consciousness raps over loose beats and live synths.”
If that weren’t enough, RA has done some keen detective work regarding the Athens title. Turns out, the name comes from a piece of Hyde’s artwork, which will also serve as sleeve art. Though, RA digs deeper and insists the title is a throwback to Underworld vs The Misterons, which as they write, “suggests that regular instrumentalist Darren Price and Junior Boys Own co-founder Steven Hall had a hand in the project.”
Let’s just be happy November 23rd is right around the corner. In the meantime, we can always spin that Trainspotting album.