It takes something special these days for us to review a single album. Our fondness for all things Underworld, up to and including their London Olympics soundtrack, brought Edgeland straight to our attention. Now in our lives for nearly five months, it remains, to date, our album of 2013.
Released back in April, Karl Hyde's debut solo LP, features nine tracks recorded over a year in London. Created with multi-instrumentalist and producer Leo Abrahams, whom Karl met whilst collaborating with Brian Eno, Edgeland is a poignant, absorbing contemplation of life on the fringes of a city, on the edge but not at the heart of the urban experience. "Edgeland" is the place between places, the town beyond the town, the underpass to the other side.
If Underworld have travelled a long way since Dubnobasswithmyheadman, it's also true that signature aspects of their roots are alive and well on this album. There are some trademark relentless rhythms, oblique electronic chatter and Karl's immediately recognisable plaintive vocals. The newest aspect is a consistent feeling of dreamy regret, an insidious longing for something out of reach.
The pace overall is measured, atmospheric, slow, elegant. It reveals its pleasures languidly but they are many. The result is sustained loveliness. Anticipate soaring sonic moments and lyrics that repay attention. The track listing hints at the joys to come. A single video follows. Close your eyes and slip away.
1. The Night Slips Us Smiling Underneath Its Dress
2. Your Perfume Was The Best Thing
3. Angel Café
4. Cut Clouds
5. Boy With The Jigsaw Puzzle Fingers
6. Slummin' It For The Weekend
7. Shoulda Been A Painter
8. Shadow Boy
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