Thursday, 29 October 2009

Thursday song – Mmm, skyscraper, I love you

This is turning into one heck of a jukebox/DJ mixtape! Today's musical contribution is by one of the best-known bands of what you might call the rave era...and I know just saying that will make some of you switch off (or click away) IMMEDIATELY but please don't! It wasn't all bad...it really wasn't. Some of it was brilliant...even without the drugs.

OK...a lot of the electronic dance music of the late 1980s and 1990s was and is, I admit it, a rather specialist subject...but that's not the case for all of it. I mean, some of you didn't think you liked folk music but you loved June Tabor yesterday, right? So why stop there? Onwards, soldiers, onwards! To where? To the Underworld...

The British band Underworld have made quite a lot of electronic dance music that can, I think, appeal to a huge range of listeners (if they just give it a go). One of their tracks did cross over to pop success (the track 'Born Slippy', thanks to its inclusion on the 'Trainspotting' soundtrack) but I have to say that that is one of my least favourite bits of Underworld. Much, much better is their album from the early 90s 'Dubnobasswithmyheadman'. It is full of great tracks – 'Cowgirl', 'Dark and Long' and most of all, for me, 'Mmm Skyscraper, I love you'. This track features vocalist Karl Hyde to great effect and has some fairly quirky lyrics (one of the reasons Underworld stood out from the dance crowd was their different approach to vocals). You can read the lyrics here (if you really want to...they're quite bizarre). The following video was the best version of this track that I could find on youtube and bizarrely, but interestingly, it features lots of pictures of a Frenchman who climbs up buildings for fun (Alain Robert...nothing to do with the band).

To listen to this track properly I would suggest you put on headphones and concentrate on it thoroughly - it's really not background music. Listen to it from start to finish and leave any prejudices you might have about electronica/dance music/rave/house/trance/techno aside for a minute. This is just a really good piece of music (and the words are fun too...though they don't really get going till about 3 minutes in). Try to enjoy it. Go on...just try one...







So what do you think? I love it. Always have...always will.

x

21 comments:

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Hey Rachel - thanks for visiting.

With regards to Dancer In The Dark:

i've not seen Dogville and some of the things i've heard about Lars Von Triers and his attitude towards women have put me off his work.

Dancer... is a great film, but again very harrowing. Bjork doesn't so much act as live the part - so if you didn't really like Dogville then you may not like this either. Its mainly Bjork's performance that transfers this film to a higher level.

Rachel Fox said...

I have a Bjork clip that I might put up as part of this week of songs. She is something else!

I probably will watch 'Dancer'...one day when I haven't watched a harrowing film for a while. I've still to watch that 'Garage' film that TFE was on about. It's on our lovefilm list now.

x

Totalfeckineejit said...

I've seen a documentary about that French climber,he's an incredible lunatic.

Rachel Fox said...

And where would we be without lunatics..?
x

swiss said...

while i agree that this is better than born slippy underworld were folk i just never seemed to take to. partly because they were kind of omnipresent for me at that time (listening to the start of this i can rmember exactly just how omnipresent!) and also i just wasn;t into that whole vocal thing of hyde's. takes me back tho...

Rachel Fox said...

I think we hung around with very different people, Swiss! Although I know they were huge at the time they weren't a band that I heard a lot out in clubs and a lot of people I knew didn't really like them (too popular, too laddy, not nearly gay enough...). So I didn't get the overkill that you did perhaps. We did once get asked to play 'Slippery ball' when we were DJing (and they meant 'Born slippy'!).

I also really like a slow track of theirs from the next album called 'Stagger'. That's here.

I was partly interested to see if anyone who hadn't been into this music at the time (and a lot of visitors here weren't) would like this music now. No sign of that so far!

x

Titus said...

I'm here now! Work all day, boys just delivered to football.
Ah, now, I kind of do like it, and rather like swiss it takes me straight back to somewhere - Wakefield, bizarrely (did quite a long course there once). And unlike swiss I get on a lot better with rave/dance music when it has vocals.

But I don't think I'd buy an album like this - I like it "in situ" but not so much as to want it in my home. Secondly, it ... well, it always goes on a bit too long for me. Nine odd minutes ...

That's two negatives but there are more positives. Would I dance to it? You betcha!

I'm liking this DJ stuff. And we love Bjork!

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks, T, for taking part in this music survey! It is long, you're right...good for lengthy car journeys we find. We also like to sing along with some of the sound fx...well I do.

I wasn't going to post the Bjork tomorrow...was thinking of something else...but maybe I will now. Can't decide, can't decide!
x

Rachel Fox said...

And I too have danced in Wakefield.

x

Titus said...

Remarkably good clubbing town, I found. Well, remarkably dedicated clubbing town.

Rachel Fox said...

I spent more time in Leeds really but that whole section of West Yorkshire was like one big nightclub for a while. Or it seemed that way.
x

gleaner said...

I did try...but an error message came up...I have seen that crazy Frenchman, yes, he is incredible and a lunatic, but very good to watch!

Rachel Fox said...

I don't like being inside those high buildings...never mind climbing up the outside!
x

Liz said...

Hi Rachel,

First, when saw it was 9 minutes long, didn't think I'd make it to end...(did cheat on 3 mins. ; ))...but yes, liked it sort of...images helped, that cheeky smile of the guy ...and really liked the winding down part at end...a totally have-to-be-on-move piece...understand the energy needed to listen to this...good experiment, I would listen again but want to be upright (still horizontal, which is unusual for me! ; ))
x

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks for giving it a go, Liz. It is a piece that you grow to like more and more I think. I hadn't listened to it for a few years but have enjoyed getting back into it again. Even if I did always sing 'corn dogs' instead of 'porn dogs'...
x

swiss said...

i think you're probably right. round about the underworld time i was proper into my electronic music. no instruments, no voices and no, god help us, piano breaks, only music made by machines.

it took easy listening to make the transition back to voice and bands and by that time we'd conquered the easy/cheesy/disco crowd handbags, hairdressers, gay friends and all!

Rachel Fox said...

I don't think I've ever gone off voices...not completely. Listening to good, interesting and/or heartfelt singing is one the neverchanging/continuous things in my life I think. I wrote a bit about it back here.

x

Eryl Shields said...

My only problem with this was that it took me back to my twenties for only nine minutes, and now I really want to dance.

Rachel Fox said...

Hi Eryl - long time no see.
Yes, let's go dancing! I always laugh at the idea of our generation in whatever old people's homes look like when we're old....listening to best of rave cds and waving our arms in the arm (if we still can). 'Tune!'
x

smith3000 said...

Tune!

Loved this at the time, love it now - but you probably knew that already. I think this was actually my favourite version, especially the way the sound of the drum roll seemed to jump right out at you.

The production on Underworld's stuff was really good (v trippy), they made great danceloor music and had really interesting lyrics - what's not to like? It even had a good sleeve if I remember correctly.

Amazing live too.

I'm hoping to write about this if I ever find the single again. Probably cost a huge amount of money though. Boo.

Thanks for the memories!

xx

Rachel Fox said...

Indeed, Smithy, tune. See you for OAP rave bingo in about 30 years time.
x