T IN THE PARK FEATURE
The _ commercial zone
So you think it’s pretty lunny that Pink Floyd’s ‘Great Gig In The Sky' is being used to advertise Nuroten? Well, Underworld, the group whose epic dance soundscapes have been described by some (by me, actually) as ‘the way Pink Floyd should sound in the 90s’, can go one better in the advertising soundtrack stakes. ‘We’ve done a couple at really beautitul ones lor Lil-lets,‘ says Karl Hyde. our man in the big headphones. Alter the break-up ol their previous band Freur, Hyde and long-term musical partner Rick Smith busied themselves writing music tor other people’s use. Toshiba, Pepsi, Sony and Nike have also beneiitted irom Underworld’s composing skills. ‘That’s what we really wanted to do,‘ he says. ‘We never really wanted to be in another band. We wanted to make commercials and do lilms because i always believed it was a really positive way of entering someone’s environment and changing it.’ However, when the duo teamed up with DJ Darren Emerson, the response to their out-there, hook- laden records was overwhelming. Underworld were the vital namedrop, pushing torward dance music with their idiosyncratic blend oi dub, ambient, techno and guitars. Last year's splendid dubnobasswithmyheadman is an undoubted benchmark. Underworld had iound their niche. ‘it was the iirst place l'd ever ielt comtortable,’ says Hyde. ‘With Freur we’d always been interested in dance and dub but there wasn’t a scene. There was 3 dub scene but we were white and the only techno band was Krattwerk and they were seen as being wacko Germans, so we never titted.’ Now it’s impossible to stem the ilow oi oilers coming Underworld’s way. An lceiandic lestival has had to tall by the wayside, but in between recording their next album the group managed to compose 30 minutes oi ambient atmospherics tor NVA’s Stormy Waters project. Next, it’s back to silting through their most recent recordings. ’We’ve got enough material tor two double albums now,’ says Hyde. Sounds like an exercise at Floydian proportions. (Fiona Shepherd)
Underworld: ad men on acid
A quarter of a million sales and it ain‘t stopping. Protection. Massive Attack‘s follow tip to the highly successful Blue Lines just keeps on growing. As the title track and ‘l-leat Miscr' continue to find their way onto TV docudramas. so Protection will continue to mooch around the fringes of the album chart.
One result is the continuing evolution of Massive as a live phenomenon. While the Glasgow gig at The Arches in December last year was by no means poor. Massive admit that their set has improved |()0 per cent. It has ballooned and blossomed into the perfect dance show. and nowhere was this better seen than at Glastonbury this year. From 2pm to midnight. 7()()() hot and dripping souls endulged in pure musical sex. Refined Dls like trippy Bristolian Nick Warren and dubmeister the Mad Professor played the support loud while percussionist Talvin Singh. who provided the backbone of the percussion for Bjork‘s Debut. showed with his energetic display why he would have gone down a bomb in
Massive Attack: heat seekers Glasgow.
Massive‘s set was lauded by many as one of the best seen in recent years at Glastonbury. It has now been extended from an hour to ()0 minutes and it lends itself much more to live instruments. They managed to recruit Deborah Miller who can sing Shara‘s tracks from Blue Lines to perfection. Horace Andy and a menagerie of friends bounded across the stage before Tracey Thom and Ben Watt chipped into a corking ﬁnale.
The classy musical element was heavily interfaced with 3-d‘s ever- expanding art machine. The video screen. which was awash with Eurochild graphics and corpuscles, was mixed a lot more professionally than of yore with what the band were doing onstage. It seemed as if Massive had at last come of age. that they had escaped the confines of the Arches and here was the real Massive Attack. bigger. bolder. Glasgow, hang on. the best is yet to come.
livery festival has its surprise hits. Generally the headliners go down a storm and treble their album sales, or whatever. But there's always room for a lesser-known act halfway down the bill to seize the day and galvanise the masses. Belgian quintet dEUS are one band who have the capability to play a 'l‘ in The Park stormer. taking their disparate inﬂuences (jazz. awkward codgers like Tom Waits and mavericks like Captain Beellieait) and waving a wand over them to produce a gripping display that will also satisfy lovers of full-on guitars. The crowd-surfing potential is limited though. as the group are fond of dropping down to an unexpected whisper at random. Then just as you think they could be navigating without a compass they’ll surge back in with a cacophonous shower of guitars and violin.
The dynamism of dEUS gigs and the irnaginativeness of their records comes from the widely divergent tastes of the
'band members and the determination
with which each individual lobbies for their own ideas.
‘When you‘re writing songs you look for partners—in—erime,‘ says bassist Stcf Carlens. explaining that dEUS came together over a period of two years and was originally founded on a busking partnership he had with singer/guitarist Tom Barman and violinist Klaas Janzoons. ‘lfpeople ever ask us to change we'll go back to busking in the street.‘
This seems unlikely, given that most of dEUS have their ﬁngers in several pies. Tom has an ambient sideline and will soon be collaborating with Tricky. Stef has his own band Moondog Junior and he and guitarist Rudy Trouve play in an experimental jazz band ‘but with songs,’ adds Stef.
The supremacy of an enduring song is something dEUS stress. no matter what manner of weirdness they infuse their material with: ‘lfl like a record it stays at my side for the rest of my life. like a tattoo,‘ says Stef emphatically. (Fiona Shepherd)
Are you being served?
Menswear: well-pressed darlings
Fssst . . . what was that? Why, the great white hope at 7" Britpop. But don’t worry, there'll be another one along in a minute. Transience and disposability, oi course, have always been among the elements which, paradoxically, give pop arteiacts their timelessness; but it’s beginning to seem that shell-lives are getting shorter and shorter. While the increasingly dizzying number oi poutlng young popster turks prottered by the music press as the next big thing may, optimistically, be taken as prooi positive of the particularly healthy nature at the body pop, a more cynical soul may mutter that, it you sling enough shit at the side of a church, some oi it’s gotta stick.
Thrown our way with incredible vigour by the weeklies recently, Menswear’s TOTP appearance could be viewed as the culmination of a selt-tuliilling prophecy by the Melody Maker, and, sure enough. quicker than a trait iiy drawing its iirst pension cheque, a backlash of sorts ground into gear. Though who knows - by the time their ilrst album is actually released, it'll probably be okay to like them again.
“They're very tickle,’ agrees tired singer Johnny Dean. ‘one week they’ll love you and the next they'll hate you. But it’s mostly down to individual ioumalists and their Ideas and opinions, and that’s lair enough. You just have to desensitise yourselt lrom it ~ even it they’re saying something good. The Melody Maker sort at love us this week. i don't know it it’s sometimes that they’re intent on ‘discovering’ something new, so that they can say, "Oh. i discovered that, and we were there iirst.”
With a wad ot interviews under their collective belt, Menswear still tool that, really, no one writes about the music, so. it there was one thing they’d want people to know about the hand, what is it? ‘Everyone plays their lnstrumenl,’ smiles Dean between Silk Cut pulls. ‘We’re not The Monkees.’ @ True enough. But The I, Monkees were fantastic. (Damien Love) Cont nii'ed
The List 28 Jul-10 Aug 199513 Q