Underworld – Second Toughest In The Infants – 4CD deluxe edition review

Underworld - Second Toughest In The Infants Deluxe Edition
Underworld - Second Toughest In The Infants Deluxe Edition

Ahead of its 20th anniversary next year, Underworld re-release their masterpiece, Second Toughest In The Infants as a deluxe re-mastered reissue in several formats via Universal on 20th November

(What’s The Story) Morning Glory may well have been the biggest selling album of the 1990s.  But for me, Underworld’s Second Toughest In The Infants was the most interesting, timely and ultimately, my favourite album of the decade. It caught Underworld at their most creative and diverse – exploring themes and rhythms unlike any of their contemporaries, and in the processing stretching boundaries and genre-defining boxes.  Similar to the mock metal band Bad News, with Second Toughest in the Infants, Underworld wasn’t sitting on the fence.  They were trying to burn the fence down; and who wants to sit on a burning fence? I think that says a lot!

Underworld circa 1996 - Darren Emerson, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith
Underworld circa 1996 - Darren Emerson, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith

Following on from the groundbreaking Dubnobasswithmyheadman, their debut album as a three-piece, with Darren Emerson joining Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, and following their new musical explorations, Second Toughest In The Infants takes giant leaps forward in every way.

My working definition of a ‘classic album‘ is a complete album with ‘all thrillers & no fillers!‘, timeless and one I never tire of listening to. For all those reasons, Underworld’s Second Toughest In The Infants is a classic album; one of my favourite all-time favourites of all-time.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6pouE8YmoQ

The album begins with a rush, ‘Juanita: Kiteless: To Dream Of Love‘, a 16 minute song that takes you on a fast and furious journey without hesitation. Rather like ‘Dark & Long‘ (opening track on Dubnobasswithmyheadman) on cocaine, if you will. The pounding beat gets stronger, heavier as it drives forward with each layer of rhythm as Karl Hyde’s filtered spoken words take a step back ‘Resonator, resonator, resonator, resonator‘. The track builds for six minutes before relenting. From here on, the track explores different rhythms akin to its own 12″ remix. All the time the power and driving beats keep ‘Juanita: Kiteless‘ alive and pulsing with adrenalin rush.

Listening to this re-mastered version of ‘Juanita: Kiteless: To Dream Of Love‘ leaves me with a feeling of exhaustion and shell-shocked delight, as it did 19 years ago.

Next up is ‘Banstyle / Sappys Curry‘ and a change in style.  Mellow with a skipping uptempo beat, taking a tip from the jazz ‘n bass style of the time, led by the likes of Roni Size & Reprazent.  ‘Banstyle / Sappys Curry‘ is a great rest bite after the impact and power of ‘Juanita: Kiteless’. If this is a concept album, then we have already entered a chillout zone.  The frantic beat gives way to a heavy heavy dub bass drop, and if the first journey was speed-induced, the room is subsequently filled with smoke!

Weighing in at over 31 minutes long, the opening two tracks have time to breathe and explore.  Rather than being suffocated by hampering thoughts of radio airplay or commercial verse/chorus verse/chorus pop structures that swallowed up some of their contemporaries.

Confusion the Waitress‘ continues in a lighter frame of mind.  Which only enhances the arrival of ‘Rowla‘.  Sequencer loop acts like a roll call to introduce a stomping four-to-the-floor beat and acid trance that filters and grows as it pulsates from the speakers into your head.  ‘Rowla‘ is a simple tune compared to the other tracks on the album.  But each time it builds you find yourself being dragged by its gravitational pull. Simple and effective.

After being completely mesmerised by earlier tracks ‘Cowgirl‘, ‘Rez‘ and yes of course, the original 11 minute (NUXX) version of ‘Born Slippy‘, it was difficult to comprehend that, within such a great album there would still be one track that, above all others would still manage to send shivers down my spine and simply blow my mind.  I still remember listening  to ‘Pearl’s Girl‘ for the first time.  But unlike other songs I loved of the same period, the power of this song remains the same and still completely resonates with me, today.  From its initial darker, moody intro, the track develops, building and opening, until that beat hits you full on for the first time. Hands down, at that moment, it was the most amazing sound ever to fill my head. CRAZY!CRAZY! CRAZY! CRAZY!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5GjVvlmg3o

Air Towel‘ follows in the wake of ‘Pearl’s Girl‘.  For a track that is the equivalent of following Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United or auditioning as lead singer of Joy Division after the suicide of Ian Curtis, the track works by moving the album in yet another direction.  Lighter, trippy and spacious; and with ‘Blueski‘ we are taken completely away from the dancefloor, electronic sequencers and beats.  Ramblings on an acoustic guitar sampled, filtered and looped in a dream-like sequence akin to a mantra for mindfulness; and finally we arrive at the final track.  ‘Stagger’ errs towards experimental.  Piano and Karl Hyde’s  vocals are drenched in echo to give a dreamy synth pop, closer to Hyde and Smith’s earlier 1980s incarnation.

With Second Toughest In The Infants, Underworld managed to explore new electronic landscapes and create a timeless album.  It was undoubtedly the pinnacle of their many glories; and at the same time they managed to develop and produce one of the best dance songs of all-time in ‘Born Slippy‘. Originally released in March 1996, Second Toughest In The Infants is Underworld’s masterpiece. It is the perfect hybrid of man and machine. It’s a record that crackles with the frantic energy of pirate stations half tuned on FM dials; one that strolls through grimy cities at night and ducks between dog tracks and neon-lit all-night stores. Lyrically, it’s Karl Hyde at his voyeuristic most ingenious; and although informed by the nascent drum ’n’ bass scene, minimalist composition and the European techno underground, Second Toughest In The Infants  only ends up sounding like Underworld. It’s a truly unique album – the sound of Rick Smith, Karl Hyde and Darren Emerson working at the height of their powers, utterly unaffected by the prevailing trends of the time and creating effortlessly peerless music.

The deluxe editions come packed with  remixes, non-album B-sides, and unreleased tracks. The fourth disc of the super deluxe edition traces the evolution of the group’s 1995 single ‘Born Slippy (Nuxx)‘ from early recordings through to the finished studio version. The super deluxe edition also comes with a 60-page book of artwork by  Karl Hyde & Rick Smith’s design company, Tomato.  The book also includes notes by Jon Savage.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOi8Gnq_z_U

Underworld – Second Toughest In The Infants
Super Deluxe 4 CD Tracklisting

CD1 (Orinigal Album)
1. Juanita: Kiteless: To Dream Of Love
2. Banstyle / Sappys Curry
3. Confusion the Waitress
4. Rowla
5. Pearl’s Girl
6. Air Towel
7. Blueski
8. Stagger

CD2: singles, B sides, remixes
1. Cherry Pie
2. Oich Oich
3. Puppies
4. Mosaic
5. Deep Arch
6. Pearl’s Girl (Tin There)
7. Pearl’s Girl (14996 Version)
8. Born Slippy (Original Instrumental Version)
9. Born Slippy Nuxx (Deep Pan)

CD3: previously unreleased material
1. Bug
2. Confusion The Waitress (She Said)
3. D+B Thing
4. D’Arbly St
5. 4 Crowns
6. Rowla A1806
7. Bing Here
8. Techno Thang
9. Pearls Ver2
10. Bloody 1

CD4: Born Slippy (Nuxx) – previously unreleased demos, live recordings, mixes

1. Nuxx A1796
2. Nuxx A2221 UW live (2 sets) Leicester M Dog 94
3. Nuxx A4712 Live @ Zap club Brighton Feb94
4. Nuxx A4733 UW live Amsterdam Apr94
5. Nuxx Liquid Room 94 A2254 UW Live Liquid Room 2 Tokyo
6. Nuxx from A1825
7. Born Slippy (Nuxx)

Underworld – The Second Toughest In The Infants Deluxe Edition was re-mastered at Abbey Road and will be released as a CD, a 2xCD deluxe edition, a double LP, and as a 4xCD super deluxe edition on 20th November, 2015 via Universal.

Underworld reveal ‘Birdstar’ from ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’ 20th anniversary

Birdstar‘ is a demo from Underworld‘s ‘Dubnobasswiheadman‘ period. Many the track’s elements were subsequently used in other songs, right up until ‘Second Toughest In The Infants‘, and also utilised in a number of classic Underworld remixes, including Bjork’s ‘Human Behaviour’ and ‘Black Sky’ by Shakespears Sister.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvpjFvm2Vlw

Underworld: Dubnobasswithmyheadman 20th anniversary

Underworld will be performing the album live at the Royal Festival Hall 11th October 2014 following the release of the remastered album which will be released on 6th October 2014 in various formats & editions – CD / 2xCD deluxe / 2xLP / HD Blu-Ray / 5xCD super-deluxe.

“The most important album since The Stone Roses and the best since Screamadelica… a breathtaking hybrid that marks the moment that club culture finally comes of age and beckons to everyone” Melody Maker

“By writing ‘songs’—albeit playful, deranged ones—Underworld have come up with a solution for the facelessness that blights dance music.” NME

In January 1994, Rick Smith, Darren Emerson & Karl Hyde released their debut album – Dubnobasswithmyheadman – on independent label Junior Boy’s Own. They crafted songs from transcendent dance music. They were clearly a band – complete with frontman/guitarist – yet they made records where the constituent parts and players were often indefinable. Musically, they took elements from the European techno underground & Balearic clubs and fused them with spliced up beat poetry and strung out ambient sounds.

Underworld’s debut arrived as a fully formed statement of intent. Its’ nine tracks showcased the limitless possibilities of electronic music. Although born out of club culture, Dubnobasswithmyheadman defied the accepted genres of the time – equally suited to the dancefloor and the after party, it was as immersive an experience quaking through bassbins or headphones. Two decades on from its original release, it’s unarguable that Dubnobasswithmyheadman is one of the most influential British electronic records of all time; a signpost for everything from dance music’s easy relationship with main stages at festivals to the radio/globe-conquering EDM phenomenon.

To celebrate Dubnobasswithmyheadman’s 20th anniversary, the record has been meticulously remastered at Abbey Road for a deluxe reissue by the band’s Rick Smith. Revisiting the original MIDI files, Rick uncovered a wealth of previously unreleased material and rare alternate mixes that sit alongside the record’s original companion singles and remixes and offer a fascinating insight into the creation of the record. The resultant release is the definitive version of one of those rare records that truly deserves to be described as a classic.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KMPUjNSk58

To coincide with the re-release of Dubnobasswithmyheadman, Underworld will play the album in full at a unique show at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Saturday 11th October 2014. This show will offer fans a unique chance to see Underworld in one of the capital’s most iconic venues playing this classic album in its entirety for the first time. Tickets cost £35/£30 and are available from July 2nd.

Dubnobasswithmyheadman is the first release through Universal Music’s exclusive worldwide deal for the band’s iconic collected works. Work is under way on plans for forthcoming future deluxe, remastered editions of each of the band’s classic albums.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoA6SSEuhWk

For more information visit www.underworldlive.com

Original album tracklisting:

1.DARK & LONG

2.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU

3.SURFBOY

4.SPOONMAN

5.TONGUE

6.DIRTY EPIC

7.COWGIRL

8.RIVER OF BASS

9.M.E

Extra disc tracklistings:

Deluxe CD2:

1. ECLIPSE

2. REZ

3. DIRTY

4.DARK & LONG (DARK TRAIN)

5.SPIKEE

6. CONCORD (3 Comp75 id9 A1771 Aug 93A)

7. CAN YOU FEEL ME? (from A4796)

8.BIRDSTAR (A1558 Nov 92B.1)

Super Deluxe:

CD2 Singles 1991 – 1994

1.THE HUMP (WILD BEAST)

2.ECLIPSE (released as Lemon Interrupt)

3. REZ

4. DIRTY (released as Lemon Interrupt)

5.DIRTYGUITAR

6.DARK & LONG (HALL’S EDIT)

7.DARK & LONG (DARK TRAIN)

8.SPIKEE

CD3 Remixes 1992 – 1994

1.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU (JAM SCRAPER)

2.COWGIRL (IRISH PUB IN KYOTO MIX)

3.DARK & LONG (MOST ‘OSPITABLE MIX)

4.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU (TELEGRAPH 16.11.92)

5. DARK & LONG (BURTS MIX)

6.DOGMAN GO WOOF

7. DARK & LONG (THING IN A BOOK MIX)

CD4 PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED RECORDINGS 1991 – 1993

1.CONCORD (3 Comp75 id9 A1771 Aug 93A)

2.DARK & LONG(1struffid3A15512)

3.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU (A1765 Sky Version id4. Harmone6 COMP43)

4.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU (After sky id6 1551 2)

5.CAN YOU FEEL ME? (from A4796)

6. BIRDSTAR (A1558 Nov 92B.1)

7.DIRTY EPIC (Dirty Ambi Piano A1764 Oct 91)

8.SPOONMAN (version1 A1559 Nov92)

9.ORGAN (Eclipse version from A4796)

10.COWGIRL(AltCowgirlC69MixfromA1564)

CD5 LIVE JAM KYME RD (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED LIVE REHEARSAL RECORDED IN THE BAND’S HOME STUDIO IN 1993)

1.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU

2.IMPROV 1

3.BIGMOUTH

4.IMPROV 2

5.BIG MEAT SHOW

6.IMPROV 3

7.SPOONMAN

Free Competition – Win one of five copies of Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs – Deluxe Edition

Derek & The Dominos - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs - Deluxe Edition
Derek & The Dominos - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs - Deluxe Edition

The classic Derek & The Dominos album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs was re-issued last week to mark the 40th anniversary of it’s original release. Buzzin Music have five copies of the Deluxe Edition double CD to give away to the winners of our free to enter ‘Layla’ competition.

Derek & The Dominos was formed by Eric Clapton following a year touring the US with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, the rhythm section of the band became firm friends during the tour and joined Clapton in 1970 with the intention of recording new material.

The resulting Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs became an instant classic album, fusing Clapton’s r&B and blues influences with the Southern blues and gospel of the USA from Bobby Whitlock and Duane Allman, with more than hint of the fabulous blues/country rock of Delaney & Bonnie.

It is common knowledge that the title track’ Layla’ was written by Clapton as an ode to his friend George Harrison’s wife Patti Boyd, the unattainable ‘Princess Layla’. Despite their friendship Clapton would end up stealing Harrison’s wife and making her his own. For a while  anyway.

Buzzin Music ‘Layla’ Competition

This Buzzin Media Competition has now closed

To enter the free ‘Layla’ competition and a chance to win one of five copies of Layla and Assorted Love Songs Deluxe Edition double CD, all you need to do is answer the following question:

Who provided the inspiration for the song Layla by Derek & The Dominos?

a) Patti Smith

b) Patti Boyd

c) Patsy Kensit

Send your entries to comps@buzzinmedia.co.uk with “Layla Comp” in the subject line with your answer and your full address and contact telephone number.

This Buzzin Media Competition ends on April 25th 2011. The editor will randomly choose 5 winners.

The editor’s choice is final.

The 40th Anniversary edition of Layla and Other assorted Love Songs by Derek & The Dominos is available now in Deluxe Edition from all usual digital and retail outlets.

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Derek & The Dominos – Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs 40th Anniversary edition- Review

layla and other assorted love songs deluxe edition
layla and other assorted love songs deluxe edition

By 1970 Eric Clapton had already enjoyed more acclaim then many musicians achieve in a life time, from the R&B of the Yardbirds through the first Supergroup collectives of Cream and Blind Faith, the guitarist appeared to have finally found what he was looking for while touring the USA with the excellent Delaney & Bonnie and Friends in 1969.

In an effort to recreate the friendly, leaderless, family like atmosphere of Delaney & Bonnie, Clapton recruited the rhythm section from that band to join himself and a guesting Duane Allman, to become Derek & The Dominos in 1970.

Having toured and played together on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass solo album, the band already sounded as though they had been together for years and work soon began on the album Layla.

Forming a strong song writing axis with Memphis born Bobby Whitlock (keyboards/vocals)their respective influences presented an incredible showcase for the band with an eclectic mix of blues, r&b, rock,soul, country and gospel inflected tunes.

Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs captures the band as a genuine collective of musicians not only at the top of their game, but enjoying the moment and producing arguably, the best Eric Clapton album ever.

Tracks like I Looked Away, Anyday, Keep On Groving, Tell The Truth and Why Does Love Got To Be So Bad have long since become standards and most covered tracks of the era, while the inclusion of Jimi Hendrix’s excellent Little Wing is simply inspired.

In the context of the album, the full length version of the single Layla feels as fresh as the day it was cut, clocking in at over 7 minutes, like most of the tracks on the album that isn’t quite long enough and I found myself not wanting it to finish, much like every other song on the album.

That for me is the beauty of Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, it doesn’t rely on self indulgent guitar or drum solos but focuses on a complete band at the top of their game.

The Deluxe Edition version comes with a bonus disc featuring some of the songs recorded for a second Derek & The Dominos album that never happened and live appearance on the US tv show The Johnny Cash Show.

Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs has been blowing me away for the last week or so, it still sounds fantastic and fresh, feeling at time more like a stonking jam session to the credit of producer Tom Dowd.

Without doubt a stunning re-issue and not to be missed.

Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs is re-issued today, Monday  March 29th in the following collectors formats:

1. Single Disc Version CD

2. 2CD Deluxe Edition

3. 4CD/DVD/2LP Super Deluxe Edition

5. 2LP Vinyl Release

6. iTunes LP

7. 7inch vinyl single ‘Got To Get Better In A Little While’ b/w ‘Layla’

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Win Derek & The Dominos collectors edition album and artwork in ‘Layla Riff’ Competition

layla and other assorted love songs deluxe edition
layla and other assorted love songs deluxe edition

To celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Derek & The Dominos album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, which is released in deluxe edition on March 29th a competition has been launched on Facebook encouraging fans to submit a video of themselves playing the iconic riff from the classic track Layla.

Fans of the classic, budding guitar virtuosos and the musical minded alike are all  invited to submit their own versions of one of the most iconic riffs in rock music history.

The entries will be judged by founding member Bobby Whitlock and original engineer Andy Johns, to win a super collector’s edition of the album and one-off canvas of the artwork for this special release.

To take part in the ‘Layla Riff’ competition simply go to the Derek & The Dominos Facebook page and sign up, then follow these easy steps:

1)      Record yourself on video playing the classic solo to ‘Layla’.

2)      Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo.

3)      Join the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/DerekAndTheDominosOfficial

4)      Post your video link on the Derek and the Dominoes official Facebook page wall.

5)      The winner will be contacted by private message on April 3rd

The SUPER DELUXE EDITION highlights include:

• Newly remastered and expanded 2-CD set of Derek and the Dominos: In Concert, recorded at the Fillmore East and remastered from the original master tapes.

• Reamastered high-fidelity, 180-gram reproduction of the original vinyl double album,

• A hardcover book, artfully designed with rare and never-seen photographs, and featuring four meticulously researched essays by noted music historian and author Ashley Kahn fashioned from new interviews with Bobby Whitlock, Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks, engineer Andy Johns, producer Albhy Galuten, guitarist Derek Trucks; plus historic interviews with Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, and producer Tom Dowd.

• Pop-up 3-D artwork and a high quality Layla art print based on the oil painting that graced the original album cover – “La Fille Au Bouquet” by Emile Theodore Frandsen de Schomberg – which has achieved cultural significance in its own right.

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is one of the most steadfastly revered musical treasures of its era. Its famous title track is still hailed as an essential rock guitar anthem, a signature tune of rock’s leading guitar hero, Eric Clapton.

Recorded in 1970 by Derek and the Dominos, the group was comprised of Clapton and top American musicians Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs music offers a timeless blend of rock, electric blues and Southern gospel influences that has shaped generations of roots-oriented musicians and music fans.

The competition will be open for submission till April 3rd with the winner announced week commencing April 4th.

Look out for the Buzzin Music Review of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs and more chances to win a copy of this essential recording.

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