Underworld’s debut — an electronic music landmark — turns 20
It’s been 20 years since Underworld dropped the album that defined a decade of dance music, Dubnobasswithmyheadman. Underworld’s debut album arrived as a fully formed statement of intent. Its’ nine tracks showcased the limitless possibilities of electronic music. Although born out of club culture, this album defied the accepted genres of the time – equally suited to the dancefloor and the after party, as well as the main festival stages. it was as immersive an experience quaking through bassbins or headphones.
In celebration of this seminal album’s anniversary, Rick Smith and Karl Hyde took to the Maida Vale studios to perform as part of the BBC’s 6 Music Live series on October 8th. This was ahead of their sold-out show at London’s legendary Royal Festival Hall on Saturday, October 11th, at which they played the album in full. In March 2015, Underworld will embark on a European tour.
Two decades on from its original release, it’s unarguable that Dubnobasswithmyheadman is one of the most influential electronic records of all time; a signpost for everything from dance music’s easy relationship with main stages at festivals to the radio/globe-conquering EDM phenomenon.
Pivotal acts like Radiohead and Brian Eno found a place in their hearts for Underworld. From their album sleeves, which double as unique and expressive art pieces, to their tremendous live stage productions, Underworld continue to act as multimedia provocateurs who push the boundaries of what it means to be post-modern musicians. Dubnobasswithmyheadman’s cover in particular “set a new standard of presentation for subsequent dance albums” according to the authors of The Greatest Album Covers of All Time and was designed by the art design collective Tomato, which includes Underworld’s Rick Smith and Karl Hyde.
To celebrate Dubnobasswithmyheadman’s twentieth anniversary, the record has been meticulously remastered at Abbey Road for a deluxe reissue by the band’s Rick Smith. Revisiting the original MIDI files, Rick uncovered a wealth of previously unreleased material and rare alternate mixes that sit alongside the record’s original companion singles and remixes and offer a fascinating insight into the creation of the record. The resultant release is the definitive version of one of those rare records that truly deserves to be described as a classic.