Out of print in the U.S.! Originally released in 2002, A Hundred Days Off features 10 tracks including Sola Sistim, Momove and Two Months Off. Karl Hyde and Rick Smith came together in the early 80s in the Art-Rock/New Wave band Freur, who eventually morphed into Underworld in the latter part of the decade. By the early 90s, the duo had reinvented themselves as a modern Electronic outfit and achieved critical acclaim, worldwide success and became one of the most influential bands in clubland... all before the 90s came to a close. Underworld explored the fringes of Dub, Dance and Techno, creating a seamless, eclectic fusion of various Dance genres. JBO.
are in many ways the godfathers of techno, and A Hundred Days Off
is close to a decade after their seminal debut album Dubnobasswithmyheadman
firmly established their presence; they have little left to prove. Largely responsible for stretching the boundaries of dance, Underworld almost single-handedly dragged the genre out of murky clubs and into the live arena, blended guitars with techno and even had a mainstream hit "Born Slippy Nuxx" along the way. Following a three-year recording hiatus that saw longtime DJ collaborator Darren Emerson leave the fold, the remaining members Karl Hyde and Rick Smith have never sounded so buoyant. The tardy sequel to Beaucoup Fish
, A Hundred Days Off
has none of the former album's bristling claustrophobia and urban menace, favouring instead a joyous carnival feel riddled with cut-up live percussion and surging keyboard loops. Entrancing from the outset, the dreamy psychedelia of "Mo Move" sees Hyde languidly intone; "I dream that I'm chemical" while cascading percussion and the intensifying beat peak and dissolve. The storming 9-minute first single "Two Months Off" continues the surreal lyrical theme with Hyde this time chanting, "You bring light in", while mesmerising multi-layered rhythms and effects make for a sure-fire dancefloor dominator. There are quieter moments such as the breezy funk of "Solar Sytem" and lethargic folk-blues ambience of "Trim" (reminiscent of Moby circa Play
), but while unmistakably Underworld throughout, A Hundred Days Off
is their most unrelentingly upbeat and infectiously joyous release to date. --Christopher Barrett