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‘Always Loved A Film’ is the first full single to be taken from Underworld’s dazzling new album, ‘Barking’. Given a global premier by Pete Tong on Radio 1, followed by a “Hottest Record in the World Right Now” from Zane Lowe, ‘Always Loved A Film’ is a collaboration between Underworld and techno producers Mark Knight and D. Ramirez, resulting in seven ecstatic minutes of pressure-cooked euphoria.
Remixes include Solo’s percussive work out, Michael Woods’ deep and dubby epic, Breakage’s stripped back, minimalist version and DJ Madskillz’s bouncy dutch house.
Following on from a barn-storming headline performance at The Roundhouse on a balmy July evening – as part of the iTunes festival – Underworld return triumphantly with their first new album in almost 3 years this September.
‘Barking’ is the duo’s sixth studio album and the first time Karl Hyde and Rick Smith have collaborated with other producers. The record enlists the help of techno producers Mark Knight and D. Ramirez (Always Loved A Film, Between Stars) plus a whole cast of brilliant and like-minded producers from across the spectrum of modern dance music to add personal touches to the band’s original material. Enter Welsh drum and bass artist High Contrast (Scribble, Moon In Water), four-time Grammy winner Dubfire (Bird 1, Grace), Bristol based dub step producers Appleblim and Al Tourettes (Hamburg Hotel) and long term Underworld team member Darren Price (Between Stars).
The question is, with such a glittering cast of extras, how does it actually sound?
From the first undulating pulses of submariner bass, the first vocals – soft like a whisper in the ear – and the first fizz of hi-hats that force along the pace, the sound is unmistakably Underworld. Electronics wrapped effortlessly around songs; streams of consciousness lyrics that form indelible images; a perfectly balanced mix of melody and rhythm. Underworld’s sixth studio album is a thundering return to form, although it’s fair to say that the band responsible have never really been below par. Like the bomb on the Icarus II in Sunshine, this new process of working had the effect of not so much reigniting a creativity within the band as exploding it into myriad new fragments. And through all of this, brilliantly and uniquely, it sounds just like Underworld.
So, thirty years in and by working with a series of handpicked co-conspirators you make the best album of your career? It was a long shot, but for Underworld in 2010, maybe playing away was just the trick. Just leaves the question of who they’ll get into bed with next time. Roll on album seven.
Underworld plays a series of European festival shows this summer in advance of an intimate album launch show at The Forum, London.
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