Out now (29/4/2014) - Buy the release here
Underhill (whose number primarily include Dean Rodell, Current Value and Ivan Shopov aka Cooh/Balkansky) have released their latest 'Prologue' LP on the ever evolving Ad Noiseam label. The 'Prologue' LP comprises an interesting development from the Underhill crew; with this offering providing a sense of the kind of production that they enjoying listening to outside of the dance. Tearing beats are present on occasion, such as in the track 'Thousand Yard Stare'; but while staggering and heavily weighted - but patient and minimally placed. The primary vibe of the album is considered beauty evocative even of Vangelis at points (such as in the epic synth orchestration of 'Two Keys Black' coupled with bleeps and glitches), with strong but subdued force leaning against the backbone of the tracks.
The first track 'All The Glitters' opens the album powerfully, with its main pace sitting around the 100bpm mark, backed by a towering bassline that drives the track unstoppably forward and the percussion occasionally frenetically doubling tempo and getting carried away into Breakcore/IDM speeds. The multilayered and variable sound design hanging off the back of this is verdant - with a mournful and synthetic sounding vocal present amongst skittering percussive elements reminiscent of dubbed out Techno.
'Happier' brings the LP into more steppy territory, with a distorted bassline remiscent of some of the earliest Dubstep from the likes of Skream, but thoroughly updated, more rich and complex and taking the sound deeper into the current decade. The snare on this track is gunshot sharp and provides a strong counterpoint to the kick.
'Prologue' is unafraid to wander into almost purely ambient territories, with the beat in the almost 8 minute long 'Folded' track mostly barely present, with the exception of where it finally drops into a more complex IDM driven pattern in the penultimate minute - before quickly dissipating again. Perhaps this is the strongest point of the LP - it's entirely refreshing to hear a piece of work from a group of artists, who are usually almost entirely dedicated to smashing raves to pieces with their explosive music, exploring areas that are not dictated by dancing, but by natural power and a flow designed purely for listening. This is particularly evident in the last track of the album ' Please Specify', which comprises 4 minutes of an ambient wall of beatless sound and distortion, that intensifies incredibly before dropping into what a recording that suggests a human presence (breathing and movement) - a track that serves both a cathartic palate cleanser, and a reminder of the humanity behind otherwise faceless music.
Perhaps the standout track for us though is 'Thousand Yard Stare' which comprises layers of distorted bass and skittering beats, placed with remarkable depth and clarity - not unlike the style of Broken Note - but very much in the voice of the Underhill crew.. Slow, while juxtaposing sounds both jagged and calming - this is Underhill at their strongest.
You can listen to some previews from the album below, or listen to more excerpts on the Ad Noiseam site here
To book Underhill for a tour date - click here