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.
- Tongue, from Dubnobasswithmyheadman.
- Thing In A Book, from Dark & Long single.
- Jumbo, from Beaucoup Fish.
- 8 Ball, from The Beach Soundtrack.
- Best Mamgu Ever, from Oblivion With Bells.
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 – I’d love to hear it!
Original photo by Mil via Flickr under Creative Commons