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Underworld

Drift Series 1 (Caroline International)

For more than four decades, minimal techno pioneers Karl Hyde and Rick Smith have together been a living testament of triumph for a generation. As Underworld, their free-flowing recording style has been crafted both as tribute and legacy to genre-defying sound innovation where silky synthesizer fueled crescendos and live instrumentalizations collide. Their legendary list of accolades spans scoring the movie Trainspotting, winning a Grammy and curating the 2012 Olympics. So as one who is familiar with Underworld might expect, referring to the forthcoming release Drift Series 1 as an “album” doesn’t quite fit. The term just doesn’t encompass the scale or magnitude of the work. Captured over an expansive 52-week experiment, the record weighs in at a gargantuan seven disks, and the new box set includes a Blu-ray, plus an impressive 80-page coffee table-worthy book in color. 

“We created a container better suited to the music we’re making,” Smith told L.A. Weekly. “One traditional sized ‘album’ every few years doesn’t seem to be the right way for us to go right now.”

The Drift series has already been celebrated by UK Mojo magazine, who said fans will see it as a “creative renaissance” for the duo. Mixmag said “Drift shimmers” and called it “a gift that shouldn’t be underestimated” when they named it Album of the Month. Of the process that yielded such phenomenal results, Hyde explained, “There’s no set pattern for our writing. We tried to ‘go with the flow’ and respond ‘in the moment’. We had a pool of ‘beginnings’, some rough, some more fully formed, and from these we evolved each week’s release. Sometimes, however, none of them felt good enough, so we would have to write from scratch. Some pieces were started in hotel rooms with us working together, others were started separately then worked on together. Some were evolved as live Jams with other artists. The process had to remain fluid throughout.”

With previously released tracks receiving overhauls for Drift Series 1, the popularity and success surrounding it is already a runaway rave train aimed squarely for a space on the shelf of music’s most important history. If this is Drift Series 1, one still has to wonder what Drift Series 2 will be like and will there be a Drift Series 3?

Stay tuned for updates on the Underworld website and perhaps time will tell.

Drift Series 1 can be purchased or downloaded here

(Caroline International)