Underworld Vs the Misterons: Athens (K7/Border)

 |   |  1 min read

Mahavishnu Orchestra: You Know You Know
Underworld Vs the Misterons: Athens (K7/Border)

This might not be what some would expect from the techno stars Underworld, but this excellent compilation serves a number of purposes outside of being fascinating in its own right.

It is a collection of some of their favouite tracks from the more meditative end of the musical spectrum so has a kind of neo-ambient, avant-jazz flavour, and also allows a new audience to hear for the first time Alice Coltrane, guitarist John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchesta, early Roxy Music, Soft Machine, jazz bassist Miroslav Vitous and others.

And it will remind older heads what extraordinary music some of this (much of it from the Sixties and Seventies) is.

It opens with Alice Coltrane's gorgeous, Indian-influenced Journey to Satchidanada (turn off your mind, relax and float downsteam?), moves into one of the best and most considered pieces by the Mahavishnu Orchestra (You Know, You Know which finds them in an introspective mood, not flat-tack guitar pyrotechnics) then on to Squarepusher's slightly disco-funky Theme From Sprite.

After Soft Machine's slinky Penny Hitch, the pace picks up a little with Roxy Music's languid ballad 2HB (from their debut album, with Brian Eno) and slides into one of the album's finest pieces, Space Odyssey by Detroit Experiment which Carl Craig's jazz outfit.

There is low-level soul-funk from Moodyman on Rectify, wide-screen electro-beats by Osunlade on The Promise and Afrofunk from Laurent Garnier. 

Underworld themselves (Karl Hyde and Rick Smith) appear twice: with their own groove-oriented sax-coloured Oh, and Hyde with Eno on the jazz fusion-spoken word of Beebop Hurry.

So, a fascinating compilation on many levels: as a primer and history lesson; an insight into the secret life of Underworld; and a reminder that great music will always stand a re-hearing.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

JACQUES LOUSSIER AT 75: Bach and all that jazz

JACQUES LOUSSIER AT 75: Bach and all that jazz

Jacques Loussier, who popularised jazz back when television was broadcast in black and white, says his career came about by accident. Half a century on from his first album and four... > Read more

John Surman: The Spaces in Between (ECM/Ode)

John Surman: The Spaces in Between (ECM/Ode)

British saxophonist Surman's career has been a pleasure to follow: right from early ECM albums such as Upon Reflection ('79), The Amazing Adventures of Simon Simon ('81) and, especially, Private... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Swan Sisters

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Swan Sisters

The Swan Sisters are Amiria Grenell and Amy Grace, an acoustic folk duo who have each had independent and highly successful careers, much of it offshore from New Zealand. Grenell – who... > Read more

PJ HARVEY INTERVIEWED (2001): Enjoying a cheerful misery

PJ HARVEY INTERVIEWED (2001): Enjoying a cheerful misery

It‘s the day before their 2001 Big Day Out appearance and Polly Jean Harvey and her band are in the Playground rehearsal rooms in Newton. They are running through a real-time rehearsal of... > Read more