With the buzz almost completely died down from "Born Slippy," Underworld's Trainspotting hit of over two years before, Beaucoup Fish emerged to a distinctly uncaring public. And though it is a disappointing record compared to the group's high-flying previous albums, it displays Underworld's talents well -- the trio is still the best at welding obtuse songcraft onto an uncompromising techno framework and making both sound great. Karl Hyde's nasally vocals are a bit more obtrusive on tracks like the trance-rant "Moaner" and first single "Push Upstairs," but as before, impeccable production saves the day. While Second Toughest in the Infants showed Underworld were no mere novices at introducing super-tough breakbeats, here the focus is on throwback acid-house and trance. The effect is that Underworld have refused to compromise their artistic vision to anyone's view of commercialism; as such, the few excesses on Beaucoup Fish can be forgiven.
The two stellar reissues of collected Dockstader material on the Starkland label can be separated by their connections to light and darker material. As could be expected, Apocalypse concerns the darker edge. Both the 20-minute title track and the included 10-minute "Traveling Music" cultivate a series of chilling atmospheres with few precedents in the academic electronic community. "Traveling Music" does so with a series of clicks and chirps that gradually morph themselves into an undeniable air of menace while "Apocalypse" accomplishes the same with Forbidden Planet effects reminiscent of flying saucers and interstellar explosions plus a series of voice treatments that truly do sound as though they're of an alien nature. Also included on the same disc, "Luna Park" turns the laughter of vacationers into chipmunk-frequency effects processed with tremendous amounts of reverb and echo.