Australia’s inthemix scored a rare coup with their excellent track-by-track commentary of “Barking” by Underworld’s notoriously evasive Karl Hyde. Although “Grace” is puzzlingly absent, the feature provides fascinating insight into the creation of this most unusual of Underworld albums.
For example, Karl’s remarks on “Barking” opener, “Bird 1”.
“Dubfire was a suggestion by Steven Hall from the Junior Boys Own label, who we’ve been friends with for a long, long time. We’d been fans of Deep Dish, and Steve said we should check out what Dubfire is doing now and that he would be very sympathetic to these tracks in particular. We chose people very specifically for the tracks. Interestingly, we were doing some shows out in Romania together with Dubfire, so we could sit and talk and discover this is a really interesting guy. He’s a guitarist, he’s been in bands. He turned out to be a great bloke to work with.
“All these tracks were written in front of a live audience and developed in a live scenario. They were already connecting with people. But we were still searching for something; it was still ‘yes, but there’s more’. What happened when we worked with these people was that they sent back their initial response and it was like, “A-ha, this is the more we’ve been looking for”. Then we would enter into a dialogue.
“Dubfire is a really good example. When he first sent back Bird 1, some of the things he’d done were seemingly subtle but very significant. He kind of gave us the Underworld we were looking for.”
Karl also discusses with inthemix the lyrical approach to “Barking”, which is decidedly less abstract than with previous material.
“People say little things sometimes, and they help often more than big things. Rick said, ‘It’d be really great if you could build a couple of little doors into your lyrics, just to let people in a little bit more’. And I really liked that picture. So I did try with this album to build a couple of little doors, rather than putting an obscure collection of words out there. There was a desire to do that, but a lot of these lyrics were taken from very different times. Everything from stuff written to notebooks years ago to words I thought of that day on the street.”
Please head over to inthemix to read Karl’s complete track-by-track commentary for “Barking”.
Thanks to Bargo for the link.