Club music for the fallout
Drift Series 1 is the culmination of Underworld’s developing sound over the past year. With new singles and videos being released on a weekly basis, Drift Series 1 tracks Underworld’s experimentation with genre-bending singles under timely limitations. The record is consistently morphing into different shapes and moods and proves to be a masterfully directionless project. Although Underworld restricted the amount of time they could spend writing and producing a song, disregarding a traditional record format has allowed the group to wildly expand their musical identity and articulate a different message on a weekly basis.
Although Drift Series 1 offers a buffet of varying attitudes, the stress the band faced releasing a song a week while still touring is apparent in the record’s sound. “Threat of Rain” or “Brilliant Yes That Would Be,” songs mimetic of stress, are best suited for post-apocalyptic clubbing, yet the maliciously driving baselines perfectly support Karl Hyde’s vulnerable vocals and introspective poetry. This is best heard on tracks “Pinetum” and “Seven Drone Music.”
This album is a series of juxtapositions. It pays homage to classic ‘90s dance but incorporates contemporary elements of electronica and indie. While some tracks entirely revolve around the rhythm section, others disregard drums and prioritize unconventional, thematic elements not normally included in an electronica outfit’s repertoire–the song “Molehill” being representative of this tendency.
Other notable tracks include “Appleshine – Film Edit,” a hypnotic experience that pays tribute to trance-electronica and house, “Custard Speedtalk,” and “Dune.” The most valued aspect of the record is how well the seemingly disjunctive singles recorded in different spaces and under divergent circumstances, almost every week effortlessly flow together.
Drift Series 1 is not just a record, but also an all-encompassing multimedia project. The seven-disc long record is supported with music videos documenting the band’s travels and an 80-page book outlining how Drift Series 1 came to be. While some videos are uninspiring and follow the band traveling, others prove to be sophisticated, evocative art displays, especially seen in the music video for “Appleshine – Film Edit.”
Ultimately, it’s up to the listener to decide how deep they would like to dive into the Drift Series experience, but it’s certainly a trip worth taking. The band was formed in 1986 and still finds innovative ways to remain relevant 20 years later… this project is a testament to the timelessness of Underworld and a token of their superior electronica and art.