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.
Chilled ambient grooves never die; they just twist out of their old skins and assume different shapes. Late-night techno wizards Sounds from the Ground are hip to this, and FOOTPRINTS retraces some of their best steps down the trail and through some pretty attractive landscapes before fading back out through the headphone exit door.
It's a collection of ageless classics from the SFTG's first two albums: KIN and TERRA FIRMA, as well as the hard-to-find version of "Snow," that has a soulful vocal from RedJen (alias Jennie B. from the Belle Stars and Pigface).Tracks date from 1996 through 2000, with highlights including the drum-and-bass workout "Planted" and the pulsing Roland 303's and whispered female vocals of "Drawn to the Woman." If Jaco Pastorious were alive and playing bass for Orbital it might sound something like "Where the Wild Things Were." This collection stands tall as classic bleep and beat architecture, furnished with lush synth pad washes, snaking counter-rhythms, and sputtering rhythmic blasts, all merging hypnotically together for slow-motion dancing, deep headphone hypnosis, or walking confidently through a crowd of well-dressed singles at the local lounge.