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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2012
Format: Audio CD
It's already been 10 years since the 1992-2002 compilation, and Underworld have done little of consequence during that whole time. They put out two middling albums with a couple of great songs ("Crocodile" and "Bird 1") that made their mark by recreating Underworld's old sound.

But oh, there was a time. For a brief spell in the early 1990s -- more precisely, during 1992-1994, with some after-echoes lasting a few more years -- the sound of Underworld was completely original, like nothing else on earth. It was based on the mechanical pulse of Detroit techno, only blended into a vast soundscape of echoes and cut-up blues guitars, and driving urgently across huge track lengths toward towering instrumental crescendos. It was an abstract and fragmented sound, matched by Karl Hyde's babbling, pleading lyrics -- nonsensical phrases that, nonetheless, were rife with ominous foreboding. You owe it to yourself to hear "Dark And Long," a stormy slow burn where the drums are the lead instrument. In fact the song is played almost entirely on drums, with only a distant synth-flute and production echoes for texture. Hyde's lyrics are evocative and sensual, beginning "thunder thunder lightning ahead / kiss you kiss you dark and long." It is high drama -- the singer's longing is shaded by a feeling of impending doom. You can also dance to it.

By the way, "Dark And Long" does not appear on this compilation. But that's only because Underworld are tremendously difficult to anthologize. During those early years, everything they touched turned to gold. Brilliant, epochal music was scattered across album singles ("Dark And Long," "Cowgirl"), album tracks ("Banstyle/Sappys Curry," "Tongue"), non-album singles ("Rez," "Born Slippy"), and obscure B-sides ("Jam Scraper," "Dirty Guitar"). There is no way to put everything together. There is space for the popular songs, or the obscure B-sides, but not both.

The previous compilation 1992-2002 did about as well as possible. Half of it consisted of rarities, including Underworld's first two singles, "Bigmouth" and "Dirty," long abstract instrumentals that already showcased all the leitmotifs of their first album. This update, titled 1992-2012, adopts largely the same strategy. The only version of "Dark And Long" on here is the instrumental club favourite "Dark Train," which sounds completely different, but is equally brilliant. The main value of 1992-2012 is that it includes three rarities not found on 1992-2002: "Minneapolis," the B-side to "Dirty," in which a grimy industrial beat breaks into a terrific part on blues guitar; "The Hump," formerly the rarest of all Underworld songs, the B-side to "Mother Earth," notable for a great bassline and an entertaining vocal vamp by Hyde; and "Why Why Why?" from the "Rez" single, just an all-around superb instrumental cut. There's even a previously unreleased out-take from the first album called "The Big Meat Show," which offers more of that classic Underworld techno-guitar. (And it's great -- like I said, nearly everything they did back then was brilliant.)

On the other hand, the rest of the compilation seems a little...unnecessary. "Bigmouth" is here, but not its melancholy sister track "Dirty." Of course we get "Born Slippy NUXX" yet again. Only three songs represent their last two albums ("Crocodile" is quite good, but "To Heal" and "Scribble" are forgettable). And, since this is the second sprawling Underworld compilation to be released, I guess now we have to give up all hope of ever seeing a reissue of "Jam Scraper," the B-side to "MMM Skyscraper I Love You," which boldly strips out all the clatter and noise (in other words, 90% of the track) and replaces it with a commanding, starry-eyed synth-guitar. Or "Eclipse," the primitive but fun B-side to "Bigmouth." Or "Dirty Guitar," which removes almost all of "Dirty Epic" except for the guitar loops that were formerly barely audible in the background. Or "Dark Hard," an excellent trance version of "Dark And Long." Or "Minneapolis Airwaves," an ambient companion to "Minneapolis."

For someone like me, three rarities and a completely new unreleased track from the golden age can make up for the drawbacks. But if you're new to Underworld, I think the way to go is what it's always been: start with Dubnobasswithmyheadman and 1992-2002, then Second Toughest In The Infants (which is already uneven, but "Banstyle/Sappys Curry" makes it all worthwhile), and then just try to piece together a collection of B-sides and rarities. It all seems so long ago now, but classic Underworld doesn't age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This anthology of Underworld's work from '92 to 2012 is exhaustive and complete. Their music is intense
yet melodic, and certainly on the cutting edge of electronica. The fact that they've been around a long time
shows in their music in that they manage to avoid a lot of the sonic cliches that at times plague other bands
or duos. Underworld, for my money, are among the best out there in the current scene and deserve a listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I've never owned an Underworld CD, but I'm VERY familiar with 7 different tracks on this set. When I noticed that I only had 1 in my library, I went looking for the rest.

Of course, I can buy the "hits" set on MP3 for a few bucks less, or just buy the 7 individual tracks. But that would still be about $8. For $14, I got 2 disks full of 16 great tracks, and a 3rd bonus disk. And I can rip these at full uncompressed CD quality.

Definitely a "best buy" in my opinion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Amazing collection to have, even if you own all the albums. We have been looking for "Why, why, why" for such a long time, we knew there was a longer version than the one we had from years ago, and we were right! There are a few other more rare tracks as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This 3-Cd version is the one to get. Full length versions, which you need to get the full impact of the music, and a disk of odds and sods. Some omissions, but overall a very fine collection in a beautiful package.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I like this band since I heard their single Born Slippy (Nuxx) single in the movie, Trainspotting (1996). Good band, great beats!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Simply phenomenal music on all 3 discs. Great beats & catchy tunes. I absolutely love this compilation & listen to it a lot.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
If you only get one CD set from these guys, make it this one!!! You'll never go wrong with these guys.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I recently dug out dubnobass by Underworld and remembered how good it was so decided to get the Anthology. Good choice. Great driving music, fits the mood of the desert.

If you have a lot of their other albums, this probably won't add much. If you are thinking you would like to learn more about Underworld, this is a great starting place.
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on August 27, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
fab!
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