"Have you heard the new Skrillex? It's really banging to the roof, I can't wait to jack it up on my mp3 disc player."This is, of course, the natural reaction to anybody who ever says "I prefer their earlier stuff". It's the attitude of real ale drinkers, broadsheet journalists and people who take BBC class surveys. These people should be shunned from society.
"I've heard it, yeah. I preferred his earlier stuff."
"Oh screw you. Screw you and I hope you die a thousand times."
At the height of 1990s Underworld when Born Slippy provided a pulsating soundtrack for every heroin lover everywhere, you would have found me harking back to their earlier stuff like a white-gloved, pill-popping Saxondale.
"Have you heard that lager, lager, lager track? It's rad to the club max. I can't wait to jive to its funky beats down the discohouse."
"I've heard it, yeah. I preferred Rez."
"Oh stick it up yourself. Stick it up yourself and swizzle until you explode a thousand times."
Ah, Rez. The track happened when a creatively exhausted Rick Smith was banished to the studio by his wife. He locked himself away and came up with Rez. What he produced was an antithesis to all the bog standard 12-inch remixes that stuck another load of bars into the middle and roller-pinned out the intro a bit. It was a thundering epic with rolling rhythms with nowhere to go but upwards: in retrospect, a shoegazing Higher State Of Consciousness.
Rez got me trawling through the likes of Lemon Interupt and Junior Boys Own 12-inches. More importantly, I didn't hesitate in buying their next album Dubnobasswithmyheadman - despite it not containing Rez and instead having its addictive Karl Hyde-vocalled sequel Cowgirl.
Underworld went on to score Danny Boyle films and frighten millions of people on TV. They also went on to produce two decades of brilliant music - and to write many lyrics of entertaining nonsense. But for me Rez would be the track that taught me boundaries were there to be broken in techno music, that it didn't just have to sound like sine waves jostling for position through MIDI connections. Techno could have soul. And you could record it in your back bedroom.
No Rez would have meant no Cowgirl, no Dubnobass and no reference point for all those bands that hook into some extra kind of kinetic energy in their 4:4 rhythms. So much goes back to Underworld.
I think I've started with an obvious one in 1993 Changed My Life. Part 2 and a new track / album coming up...
Other parts of this series:
Intro | See all
Further Fats: This is the future: some pilled-up nutter going wild as a retro dance-rock beat combo plays a dead festival (2007)