Trackpacking: Underworld

by Keith Savage · 11 comments

Post image for Trackpacking: Underworld

Trackpacking is a recurring series highlighting musicians that inspire me to travel.

Some music just makes you feel cool. You know the kind: it serves to enhance the moment – not define it – and heightens the experience like a pinch of salt on a fresh tomato. My favorite music has always provided a soundtrack to my life at one time or another, whether I’m walking through the rainy streets of Edinburgh, watching the sun rise and writing, or speeding down gorgeous highways in the summer. Underworld is frequently that soundtrack.

Underworld has had many iterations in its nearly 30 years of existence, but Karl Hyde and Rick Smith have always formed the core. They’re a couple of aging blokes from the United Kingdom who never fail to make you smile at their creative genius. At this point, Underworld is an institution and one of the few relevant electronic-techno groups from the 90s. Their longevity is largely due to the liquidity of their musical style and its refusal to be boxed into a specific genre. Underworld can (and usually does) send enormous outdoor festivals into a frenzy with anthemic jams like Born Slippy and Rez/Cowgirl, but they could create the same intensity in a small theater with pensive slow-burners like Blueski and Tongue if they chose to tour that way.

I remember when my brother, Adam. gave me Underworld’s Dubnobasswithmyheadman CD for my birthday. I must have been 18. I was always excited to listen to music that Adam liked so I had my parents put the album on as we drove back to Milwaukee. I remember thinking that this was important music and that I wasn’t processing everything I was hearing. It’s strangely exciting to feel like you can’t comprehend everything all at once, that full appreciation will take effort and time. That was my first taste of Underworld and they’ve become one of those bands that I periodically rediscover and binge on.

Underworld’s music, much like travel, adds a touch of the cinematic to life. It marries to the little things that compose our days and, in the process, makes them feel magical, meaningful, and special. And that’s a good thing, too, because they are.

Pack These Tracks

Just hover your mouse over the icon to hear the song.

Create A Moment

  • Get ready for the party with Jumbo on the stereo, volume in the red.
  • Cycle through the mountains with Thing In A Book in your headphones.
  • Sit on the empty beach, drink in hand, sun setting, Tongue on the iPod.

Have some music that moves you? Please share it in the comments โ€“ Iโ€™d love to hear it!

Original photo by Mil via Flickr under Creative Commons

RodrigoNo Gravatar May 18, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Hello Keith, Iยดm an underworld fan too. Their creativity is impressive and always bring light to my daily life, like changing the preconcepts from context and make routine a brave new world. I think the music they make is a DMT liberation booster in the brain.


SofiaNo Gravatar July 8, 2010 at 1:53 AM

I’ve never heard of those, its always fun to discover new music so thanks for the tip! When I travel I love listening to Katie Melua when going to sleep, it helps me calm down much easier after a long day exploring ๐Ÿ™‚


Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 8, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Hey Sofia, thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to check out Katie Melua. You might like Underworld.


ClaireNo Gravatar July 7, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Never heard of them either, but I already like the name ๐Ÿ˜‰


AndiNo Gravatar July 6, 2010 at 7:52 AM

Never heard of them, but will give them a listen!


Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 6, 2010 at 9:23 AM

Hope you enjoy them!


Dustin Main - Skinny BackpackerNo Gravatar July 6, 2010 at 5:23 AM

I LOVE underworld, and I’ve listened to them for years. A couple of years back I made it a mission to see them live, and was hoping that our paths may cross while on the rtwnow. Been keeping an eye on and even the past few years to try to predict where they would be, but so far not looking good for this go around ๐Ÿ™


Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 6, 2010 at 9:24 AM

I would also love to see them, but they tour so infrequently – especially in the USA – that it looks unlikely. My brother saw them in Ireland in 2002 during the Everything, Everything tour and he said it was incredible. Good luck on seeing them live. Perhaps we’ll cross paths in this endeavor.


Dustin Main - Skinny BackpackerNo Gravatar July 6, 2010 at 10:46 AM

I was banking on them playing in Australia or NZ over New Years as they had in the past, but it didn’t happen in 2010. There is a chance I could catch them in Europe in late summer, we’ll have to see what happens. If they playing live anywhere near me I would fly there in an instant.

Unfortunately the rare USA/Canada shows aren’t full-fledged live affairs, and sometimes just glorified DJ nights. I want the BIG HUGE live show. ๐Ÿ™‚


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