Lwith any other art form,’ was Mary
Signed to Junior Boys Own and
with the imminent release of their debut album Calvin Bush explains just why there’s ‘no-one quite like Underworld’.
It's got to be the way forward. 'fcll Essex boys Underworld that what makes them so unique (apart from their reputation for fourteen hour live jams. their strange lyrics. their music. their attitude — and we‘ll soon come to those) is the fact that. in spite of their solid roots in the underground. avant-garde club scene. at heart. they are in fact a ‘band‘.
‘Hmm. Yeahh. delinitely.‘ concurs Karl Hyde. who along with fellow composer Rick Smith and leader- of-the-cutting-edge DJ pack Darren Emerson. forms Underworld. ‘I remember when we first played at the Drum Club. I strapped on my guitar. and one of my mates was down on the dance-ﬂoor. and he heard somebody say. “Aw, fuck no. not a band!“ And I think that‘s a good thing. As to what type of band. we‘re still forming it. because having been through that typical band thing in the past. when we made the decision to carry on with Underworld (pre-Darren Emerson. Underworld were a ‘more funk-based‘ prospect). we wanted to ﬁnd other ways of doing things.‘
Oh. they‘ve certainly done that. Although the current line-up has been constant for nearly four years now. it wasn‘t until last year‘s monumental slab of spook-time. over-spoken hard grooves. ‘Mmm Skyscraper i Love You‘ that we realised there was no-one quite like Underworld. ‘Skyscraper‘ was an abstruse. almost disconcerting initiation into the electronic midi-mash-up and lyrical theatre of the sexually-charged absurd that‘s been at the heart of most of their work since. The vocals came straight
~ \ ith. Darren Emerson and Karl ityde
Sm from the loud-hailer of an android over-lord (‘My | advanced. Du!) looks set to fulfil predictions that actual voice.‘ protests Karl) and lines about ‘l’orn : when dance music gets its White Album. Underworld
dogs sniffing the wind for something new‘ were densely layered into sexual and rnantric rhythm
‘They‘re definitely tracks we want played in the
i will be behind it. It‘s libidinous. truculent. brawny ‘ and wayward. It‘s so wired that before you hear the
1 stampede for your local dancing emporium. the
I sound of the nation‘s floors cracking under the
clubs. and it‘s essential that it doesn‘t fuck up the t weight of collective lilW'de Will "‘UmC il-
groove. and that people get off on that.‘ says Karl. :
In fact everybody‘s been getting off on Underworld. ' On their ‘anything goes‘ live sets. On their remixes. On their punk testimony of having recent single ‘Rez‘ pressed up on limited pink vinyl. On its flipside. ‘Cowgirl'. a soaring tower of song that pierced you the way only skewers in eyeballs can. And especially on Karl‘s post-Beat. Burroughs- influenced streams of lyrical consciousness. inspired only by ‘not wanting a major record deal‘.
There‘ll be further challenges ahead for the unwary listener when they release their debut album Duh No Buss With My Head Mun later this year. From the prized few tapes that have been circulated in
‘Well. that‘s one of the ways that Darren is so
; crucial. ‘cos he‘s doing it (er. that‘s “it” as in [)J-ing) 5 almost every night. When we do things. we‘ll look to him to see if he could play it. and quite often he‘ll say. “Yeah. I could play it but push it further." I mean. there‘s one track on the album ("fongue') which almost didn‘t have a rhythm. and it‘s almost like Crosby. Stills. Nash and Young. And Darren‘s as much an instigator of this as anybody. some of the stuff he comes up with. it‘s like. “‘Ere. you can‘t like that. you‘re a l).l“.‘
Underme play live a! Slum u! The Are/res.
f (ilusgmt‘ on Fri [7. Dub Nu Buss Wit/1MyHeuder ; will be released on Junior Boys ()wn in October.
:— Off the wall
There’s a kind of art that absolutely everyone can partake of gratis, that really says something to the oft-cited ‘man on the street’, that’s a more direct and accurate comment on the times than the artistic vision of an individual, however gifted. A clandestine art form that gleefully steals and appropriates familiar images for the purposes of advertising, recruitment or diffusing information. The club flyer and the political campaign poster. 0n the other hand, they are just tlyposters and flyposting is illegal.
‘I think they deserve to be up there
L‘6’ng M sand no movo. to RA.”
Cathcart of the Cranhill Arts Project, whose conviction that billposters
display aesthetic merit is such that she and a crack flyposting team have mounted an exhibition entitled ‘Bill Posters ls Innocent: The Art Of Glasgow’s Streets 1987—1993’ with examples of imaginative club advertising from the likes of The Tunnel, The Sub Club and Club Sandino and political poster campaigns such as the Anti-Poll Tax lobby slapped up on a purpose-built wall, on lamp posts and on bins, which come ‘courtesy of the Cleansing Department’, inside the Cranhill Art Gallery.
Clubrunners are invited to paste their current flyers on the wall (not to cover its entirety — it’s not meant to be that naturalistic) without fear of arrest and to create an at-a-glance ‘what’s on’ club guide.
So what makes the humble billposter, classed as refuse under the litter Act, worthy of elevation to the status of
exhibition matter? ‘You’d be better asking the question should they be used as billposters, whether they should have such a quick turnover,’ says Cathcart. ‘The fact that the posters themselves have a very transitory life doesn’t mean they’re not well designed. Anybody in Glasgow can look about and see that’s where good design is.’
Spurred by the recent curfew legislation, the exhibition is also timed to coincide with the Icograda design conference which Cathcart feels, ‘excludes a lot of Glasgow designers. So they’re not excluded from our gallery or our show.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
Bill Posters ls Innocent: The Art Of Glasgow’s Streets 1987-1993, Cranhill Art Gallery, Glasgow. Until 8 Oct.
62 The List 10—23 September 1993