A Hundred Days Off
Three years after their last studio release, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith decided it was time to get back to basics. With the departure of longtime DJ Darren Emerson, Mr. Hyde and Mr. Smith (collectively known as Underworld) decided it was time to take a breath, close out other projects, and concentrate on having fun creating the next record. No side projects or remixes would distract the duo from creating the fourth Underworld album. So Mr. Hyde and Mr. Smith closed the doors, put on the headphones, and created A Hundred Days Off, a smooth, sensual collection sparkling electronic goodness.
Elegant and supple, A Hundred Days Off is almost organic, a very human sounding recording from the genre of music most associated with cold electronic noises. Most of the tracks come in at over six minutes, drenching the listener in auditory bliss. Each track is intricately constructed and executed with surgical precision. Choosing a highlight track is nearly impossible — the entire disc is one aural odyssey of sound and texture. If I was forced to choose, I would have to pick “Trim” is a quirky little chunk of what can only be described as “robo-country” — a bit of twangy guitar wrapped around some quasi-nasal vocals and peppered with a slow tempo drum machine, but because it’s in the hands of Underworld, it actually works. “Two Months Off” is another strong contender for My Favorite Track, a ten-minute journey that wraps the listener in a warm blanket of a fuzzy organ line with longing vocals that are almost wistful. “Dinosaur Adventure 3D” is a fun, kinetic piece that dares you to not get up and dance and “Sola Sistim” is reminiscent of the slow and sensual “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove” by Dead Can Dance.
And if it takes Underworld another three years to make a CD as good as A Hundred Days Off, I’ll be willing to wait.