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Underworld ~ “Dubnobasswithmyheadman” Album 20th Anniversary

Underworld ~ “Dubnobasswithmyheadman” Album 20th Anniversary

Words by Manny Martinez

A definitive album in the history of electronic music turned 20 yesterday. Underworld’s Dubnobasswithmyheadman was originally released on Junior Boy’s Own label in 1994. While not mainstream-sounding in itself, the album played a pivotal role in setting the stage for dance music’s inclusion in everything from films, such as Trainspotting and The Matrix, to television commercials for any product imaginable.

While managing to gain some levels of commercial success, virtually every track on Dubnobasswithmyheadman could be played in any warehouse, club, or festival at the time and receive a positive reaction. Personally, I have fond memories of hearing Los Angeles DJ Jason Bentley, playing “Dark and Long” to a crowd of several thousand at one of Southern California’s famed Narnia parties.

Listening back to the album, the opening build of “Dark and Long” sets the mood for an entire album, filled with the cross-genre inclusion of breakbeats, basslines, bleeps and effects – as the title suggests. The end result has since inspired generations of producers, DJs and ravers alike.

In terms of shelf-life, especially in an age of disposable chart-topping music by artists such as, fill in the blank, Dubnobasswithmyheadman‘s ability to sound fresh when compared to present-day music is a testament to what electronic music in its purest form can sound like. More so, the collaboration between the trio of Karl Hyde, Rick Smith and Darren Emerson, through their use of innovative production techniques and solid musical composition, gave validity to other producers within an industry that had long categorized and simplified electronic music as simply background or bed music.

Don’t call it techno, house, trance, drum and bass or dubstep. Rather, consider it essential listening in the history of electronic music.

Have a re-listen, or hear it for the first time.

1.”Dark & Long”
2.”Mmm Skyscraper I Love You”
6.”Dirty Epic”
8.”River of Bass”