Underworld – Rick Smith and Karl Hyde – have been working together for over three decades, the last two of which they have recorded and performed under their current guise. During that time, the duo have explored the limitless possibilities of electronic music in all its forms, producing nine acclaimed studio albums and world-renowned live shows.
Over the last fifteen years, Underworld have fostered a close working relationship with the director Danny Boyle, having contributed music to several of Boyle’s movies including most famously Trainspotting as well as A Life Less Ordinary, The Beach and most recently, scoring Sunshine.
The relationship began when Boyle contacted the band having initially cut Trainspotting to the band’s debut album Dubnobasswithmyheadman. The single release of Born Slippy Nuxx, the soundtrack to the closing sequence of Trainspotting (and consequently the summer of ’96) went on to sell over a million copies in the UK alone.
In 2006, Underworld co-scored the Anthony Minghella film Breaking and Entering with composer Gabriel Yared. Last year, the theatre company Frantic Assembly – in conjunction with the National Theatre of Scotland – asked Underworld to contribute the score to their acclaimed production Beautiful Burnout (itself named after an Underworld track).
For much of the past twenty years, Smith and Hyde have worked on projects tangentially to their music career. In the early ’90s, they co-founded Tomato, an art collective whose work went on to heavily influence graphic design throughout that decade. Hyde continues to work with Brian Eno on the improvised collaboration Pure Scenius.
Latterly, Smith and Hyde’s joint installations have been at Tokyo’s Makuhari Messe Artjam (2007) and New York’s Jacobson Howard Gallery (2008). In 2010, Hyde’s first solo painting exhibition What’s Going On In Your Head When You’re Dancing was premiered at Tokyo’s La Foret Gallery, for which Smith created an immersive sound installation entitled Bungalow With Stairs, released on their own label.
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