May 25, 2024

Underworld

94 it was. One of those horrible, cloudy, humid, Scunthorpian, summer days. It felt like hell, or purgatory. I had walked all the way back from the retail units to my lodgings, with a stereo system that I had spent a good part of my earnings from working at McDonalds on. In my room, I collapsed on the bed, but not before quickly setting up the system, and pressing play on the Dubnobasswithmyheadman tape, that a friend had lent me.

I turned the volume up high, it was mid-afternoon, no-one was home, so no-one to disturb, and collapsed. Into my siesta I went. So tired was I that even the pounding bass of Underworld couldn’t stop me from loosing consciousness. And yet the music seemed to thread itself into my dreams. At some point I began to rise back into consciousness, just as Dirty Epic was playing. Here Comes Christ on Crutches, such weird and wonderful imagery for someone who was coming to terms with life after having lived under the yoke of an evangelical domestic dictator. But it wasn’t just that, the sounds in Dirty Epic were extraordinary, the audio electronic equivalent of perversion, sacrilege, beauty and getting high. I felt my body lifting off the bed, my mind was floating around the ceiling. It gives me shivers now thinking about how I felt then. I don’t think anybody had made anything like Dirty Epic before, and I’m not sure anyone has made anything like it since. So tired, so bored, so depressed, so Scunthorpe, but this felt like a spiritual awakening.

When I got to the University of Sheffield, Underworld were planned in to play The Octagon.¬†I didn’t go. I realised these concerts tended to be impersonal events, with loads of people on drugs, smiling and really getting into it. For me, Underworld weren’t about public performances, they were about introspection. Trance music to me has always been about introspection.

Their music didn’t need drugs. I’ve always thought their music is drugs.¬†Underworld’s music opens up doors in the mind, for the mind to dwell and ruminate in. Its a marvellous aid to studying and writing, almost as if the rooms it opened up were private study rooms, or private libraries.

Annie Mac and Pete Tong were the first people to play Underworld’s music, that I remember. I remember An erasor of love, which until this point, I thought was was An erasor alert!

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