Karl Hyde and Rick Smith’s Underworld project is an essential piece of British music, one that has spanned multiple generations and unlike those who came and went, has stayed relevant since the start. Their new record might be their tenth studio album, but it introduces us to an entirely new and refreshing concept, one that is without doubt their biggest yet. Upon releasing ‘Another Silent Way’ back in November 2018, Hyde and Smith announced they would be releasing new music on a weekly
basis for the following 52 weeks. Each week a new track appeared on the groups website as a free download, with compiling digital EPs then going on sale in November, January, March, May and August. That period has now come to an end, and we have an entire collection of music, films, merch and more to enjoy. Drift Series 1 offers a box set that includes over 50 tracks, a blu-ray disc containing 30 film clips and an 80-page book that includes interviews, lyrics and poetry. Among the vast multiple-CD tracklist you can find collaborations with talents like Tomato’s Simon Taylor, Aussie trance band The Necks, techno producer Ø [Phase], Japanese noise output Melt-Banana, economics writer Aditya Cakrabortty, and others. The sound itself is eclectic, as would be expected with a project of this size. Everything from driving techno and progressively rooted ambient to downtempo jazz and straight up opera is included, this makes it likely that you won’t love the entire album from start to finish, but you’d certainly be doing yourself a disservice to not at least give it a chance. Underworld had originally said the Drift project would come to a close when the 52 weeks were up, but have since confirmed that it will continue for another year.
Where to start:
‘Roof Off’ – Overlord-esque vocals and dark, stomping drum hits
‘Doris’ – Emotive chords sprinkled with pluck style melodies
‘Give Me The Room’ – Lean, mainroom-ready techno production
Previous from Underworld:
Dubnobasswithmyheadman LP (1994, Junior Boy’s Own)
Beaucoup Fish LP (1999, Junior Boy’s Own)
If you like this then check out:
Orbital – Monsters Exist (218, ACP Recordings)
The Chemical Brothers – No Geography (219, Virgin EMI)
Underworld – Drift Series 1 LP is out now on Smith Hyde Productions.