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One of the most popular intelligent techno acts to emerge during the genre’s ascendance during the 1990s, Underworld began life in the late 80s as a funk-rock group including vocalist Karl Hyde and guitarist Rick Smith.

The two had formed the new wave band Freur and released Doot-Doot in 1983. Get Us Out of Here followed two years later, but Freur then disintegrated.


During the 80s, Hyde worked on projects for Debbie Harry and Prince, among others, but again joined with Smith to form Underworld in 1988.

The group earned an American contract with Sire and released albums in 1988 and 1989, though with little attention.

By the end of the decade, Underworld had disappeared.

The duo left after two albums, but resurfaced several years later with a new member (DJ Darren Emerso) and a sound much closer to straight ahead techno and trance, though much more rock-oriented than its electronic contemporaries – especially early on.

The trio’s first two singles as Underworld, Rez (1993) and MMM…Skyscraper I Love You (1993) caused a sensation upon release.


Their first album, Dub No Bass With My Head Man, appeared in 1994, and the trio gained a US deal with TVT the following year.

Second Toughest In The Infants was released early in 1996 to outstanding acclaim; the LP also sold well, thanks in part to the non-album single Born Slippy, which was featured on the soundtrack to the seminal Trainspotting film.

Underworld also perform remixes, altering tracks by Depeche Mode, Bjork, Simply Red, Orbital, Leftfield and the Chemical Brothers.

Karl Hyde
Richard Smith
Guitars, vocals
Darren Emerson