Underworld, the British duo Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, have been one of the most pioneering and influential electronic acts in the world for more than twenty years. In that time, their music has transcended club dancefloors and provided soundtracks to everything from iconic movies (Trainspotting) to the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games (for which they were handpicked as musical directors).
Rick and Karl met in Cardiff in the early ’80s and spent the following decade working together in a succession of bands with varying levels of success. After a brace of singles released under the name „Lemon Interrupt”, the reinvigorated Underworld released „Mmm Skyscraper… I Love You” - a thirteen-minute blueprint for their future. Sounding unlike any other electronic record of that era (or since), the 1992 single fitted Karl’s hallucinogenic monologue to a rolling, relentless rhythm track. The dynamic may have been that of a band; the execution was something far more otherworldly. The album that followed – 1994’s hugely acclaimed „dubnobasswithmyheadman” built a formidable live reputation for Underworld.
Released early in 1996, Underworld’s second album, „Second Toughest In The Infants”, saw the band push further into the unknown to create what is unarguably one of the UK’s greatest electronic records – an utterly unique eight track sonic journey through techno, drum’n’bass, minimalist composition and ambient music. Upon release, the media elevated the band to something close to national treasure status („A British band to rank alongside Pet Shop Boys, New Order… hell, Pink Floyd. If all acid house had ever left us was this, it would surely be justification enough” The Face).