This summer I spent three days in Ibiza with some good friends of mine. The first two nights which we spent in Privilege and Space were fun for sure, but at this point the party island hadn’t provided me with the kind of stand out experience that I was expecting. Increasingly rigid noise restrictions meant that all of the outside areas of the clubs had been closed. The boy to girl ratio was outrageous; there must have been fifty boys to every girl…and not in a good way. The music, which for me will always determine the success of a club, was ok, but in Space particularly, highly monotonous and without melody. However, something happened on the third and final night that flip reversed my attitude and sent my opinions of Ibiza soaring. That something was Underworld. For some inexplicable reason, previous to my holiday in Ibiza aside from a half hearted flirtation with “Born Slippy. NUXX” in the wake of Trainspotting, Underworld never really grabbed my musical attention. As someone who takes pride in having a fairly extensive knowledge of music, I expect to have all of the essentials covered. Now I feel like a fool. I have been truly humbled.
There is so much more to Underworld than “Born Slippy ” it’s a joke. In fact, there were almost two hours of epic, energized, live performance during which time TUNE followed TUNE followed TUNE followed total TUNE. Set amongst some very crafty visuals and the giant smiley faces of club Amnesia’s ” we party like 1989,” rave, Underworld put on a live performance that will forever be etched in my memory. There’s something about early electronic music that I love and Karl Hyde and Rick Smith of Underworld were around with Kraftwerk when it all began. When a new musical genre is born, musicians have different priorities; it’s about progression and carrying a sound forward by creating something new that has never before been heard. Electronic music, with its allegiance to electronically generated instrumentation, its repetitive rhythms and computer-speech software, carried music on a new tangent, to another dimension. Underworld fused their admiration of Kraftwerk’s pioneering electronic sound with their own affiliation for reggae dub to create something unique in its own right that evolved with the sound of the 90s and still sounds great now.
As Rock and Roll had done in the 50s, electronica revolutionized music in the 80s and I felt a genuine sense of this excitement in Underworld’s performance. I left the club feeling as contented as I can imagine that I would have done, should I have seen my electro favorites Kraftwerk perform, although my enjoyment was exalted by the added element of surprise and the fact that Underworld are British – I always feel a strong sense of pride when cool people are from my homeland.
I have trawled the internet looking for clips of Underworld’s performance in Amnesia. Didn’t really want to put “Born Slippy NUXX” on but I think that this is the vid that best captures the vibe in the club during their performance.