UKNY For November 10
Underworld's Karl Hyde and Rick Smith (photo by Kevin Westenberg, PR)
Rather than following up their 2016 Grammy-nominated album, Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future, with another traditional release, electronic adventurers Rick Smith and Karl Hyde of Underworld chose a very different route. Always a band that's favored risks and scooting down unexpected roads, the Essex-based duo embarked on their "DRIFT" platform last November 1, releasing a new song (and video) every week via their website, Underworldlive.com.
It was a demanding, exhilarating, exhausting and (admittedly) pretty mad endeavor that drove the duo to push themselves every minute of the day, resulting in some of their most progressive, intimate and downright gorgeous songs to date. The pair connected with a handful of surprising collaboraters too, like Australian experimental jazz collective The Necks, Ichirou Agata of Japanese noise provacateurs Melt Banana, and even the economist Aditya Chakrabortty, who wrote a feature in The Guardian about his unlikely connection with Smith and Hyde.
That 52-week project has culminated in not a mere album, but a seven CD box set, Drift Series 1, accompanied by a Blu-ray of every film and an 80-page book (there is a curated, one-CD or two-disc vinyl length sampler option too), all available digitally as well. On tonight's UKNY at 11, I'll take a deep dive into the box set, released on November 1, which is truly one of the most deeply satisfying and loveliest releases of the year, even if you've been faithfully following along with the group's indefatigable progress for the past year. (See below for a couple of the videos, guided by their longtime Tomato colleague, Simon Taylor.)
Also on this evening's show, beautiful new tracks from Ben Watt, Lanterns on the Lake, fka twigs, and Michael Kiwanuka, who has also released one of the finest albums of this year, Kiwanuka.
That's UKNY, from 11 p.m.-midnight, EST on 90,7, also streaming online and available after broadcast in the Weekend Archives, if you're more a lark than a night owl.
1. Michael Kiwanuka, “Living in Denial,” Kiwanuka
2. Temples, “Holy Horses,” Hot Motion
3. Lanterns on the Lake, “Every Atom,” Spook the Herd
4. Girl Ray, “Show Me More,” Girl
5. fka twigs, “Sad Day,” Magdelene
6. Ben Watt, “Irene,” Storm Damage
7. Underworld and Ø [Phase], “Border Country,” Drift Series 1
8. Underworld, “Doscientos,” Drift Series 1
9. Underworld, “Dune,” Drift Series 1