From fall 2005 through summer 2006, Underworld embarked on a series three of download only multimedia releases known as The Riverrun Series, which consisted of fresh musical pieces accompanied by a corresponding textual visual slideshow. A month after the trilogy’s completion, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith gave prior subscribers access to a retrospective composite, known as The Misterons Mix.
At around 25 to 30 minutes per slice, they were conceived partly with the idea of giving the listener the Underworld experience over the time taken for one slab of a vinyl album. Each piece features several distinct songs, and the listener has to drag back their audio player rather than simply pressing back or forward. The first, November 2005’s Lovely Broken Thing is eclectic but uniformly foreboding. There are nods to Mezzanine era Massive Attack, Primal Scream’s Evil Heat, and even Trent Reznor’s more tranquil moments.
The second edition, Pizza for Eggs, picks up from A Hundred Days Off with solace and foreboding worthy of David Holmes’ This Film’s Crap Lets Slash the Seats and Leftfield’s Leftism. From then on we’re into blissful dub funk, languid industrial, and jittering marching muzak. The final, I’m a Big Sister, and I’m a Girl, and I’m a Princess And this is my Horse has a serenity evoking Phillip Glass and Bill Evans. I suspect that the supplementary images and words absent on my sampler bore a lot of significance here.
And the intent behind a retrospective promo? A reminder. Underworld have a forthcoming studio album, continuing live web broadcasts, and soundtrack work on Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and Anthony Minghella’s Breaking and Entering. If this glimpse into Riverrun is a good indicator, then one of the nineties most vital electronic acts have plenty left to hold interest as the zeros reach their latter half.
Underworld – A Hundred Days Off
David Holmes – This Film’s Crap Lets Slash the Seats
Primal Scream – Evil Heat