Cult Albums: #8 UNDERWORLD – Dirty Epic / Cowgirl (1994)

Somehow I contrived to come home with this instead of Dubnobasswithmyheadman by mistake back when it came out – my first Underworld experience. It’s still one of my favourites of theirs. Calling it a cult album is probably a bit of a misnomer, because it isn’t really an LP. But then again, it does have eight tracks and runs to nearly 75 minutes, so you can’t call it a single.

First up, there are three mixes of “Dirty”. The first, the Dirty Guitar Mix, has a choppy funk guitar, and big slabs of synth as it chugs along, with Karl Hyde phoning in (literally) a stream-of-consciousness spoken vocal straight off Soho phone box calling cards. It’s recognisably the same track, but only just. The Dirty Mix is a stripped down instrumental house track which bursts into life after around six of its eleven plus minutes. The familiar album version condenses elements from the first two and turns them into an epic of surreal melancholia with references to phone sex, late night train journeys to Romford, guilt, self-disgust and a crippled Christ. It’s one of the finest examples of Hyde’s talent for creating a narrative out of snippets of seemingly unconnected dialogue, and half-heard sentences. The tune ain’t bad, neither – one of Underworld’s finest, slightly fugged and paranoid come-down tracks.

Nearly half an hour of “Cowgirl” in its three incarnations is probably a little much. The Winjer Mix is a bit dull, and the Irish Pub in Kyoto Mix goes on a bit long. The album version is an absolute classic. An eraser of luck indeed. The final two tracks are the original single version of live favourite “Rez” and the low-key “River of Bass”. Dirty Cowgirl is no Dubnobasswithmyheadman, but it is nevertheless a great collection in its own right. It was readily available in Europe despite being initially only issued by TVT in the US. It’s out of print but easy to track down.

1 Dirty Epic (Dirty Guitar Mix) 10:00
2 Dirty Epic (Dirty Mix) 11:14
3 Dirty Epic (Album Version) 9:56
4 Cowgirl (Irish Pub In Kyoto Mix) 11:45
5 Cowgirl (Winjer Mix) 6:25
6 Cowgirl (Album Version) 8:29
7 Rez 9:55
8 River Of Bass 6:26

Originally issued as TVT 8722 in 1994.

The Tomato video for “Rez”


One response to “Cult Albums: #8 UNDERWORLD – Dirty Epic / Cowgirl (1994)

  1. Pingback: The M M & M 1000 - part 14 « Music Musings and Miscellany

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