100 Days Off CD (2002)Underworld
First released in 2002.
In the accompanying video for Two Months Off, Karl Hyde dances alone in the rain. Lost to music, he begins to levitate above the wet ground before spinning out in the refraction of a newly formed rainbow. It’s a moment of ecstatic abandon; an on-point visualisation of the feeling experienced by most at Underworld live shows. For two short hours, you’re drenched in sweat and travelling way out of body, much like Karl is in the clip.
Released as a single in September 2002, Two Months Off quickly became a staple of Underworld’s live shows, forming as solid a foundation stone as NUXX, Cowgirl or King of Snake. Although sunlight bright, it’s deceptively heavy thanks to Rick Smith’s juggernaut techno go-go rhythm track. It’s a sound that powers A Hundred Days Off, like a chemical reaction happening in your ears.
Underworld’s fourth album was their first made as a duo following the departure of Darren Emerson shortly after the mammoth global tour in support of Beaucoup Fish. If that album was Underworld exploring the edges of their sound, A Hundred Days Off is them honing in on a super focused, magnetic groove and riding it. Within that groove, there are journeys into different musical worlds, variations and fluxes. Karl’s vocal in the breakdown of Dinosaur Adventure 3D would be as welcome in a Greenwich Village folk club as it would in Fabric; the guitar playing on Ess Gee is as gentle and mellifluous as Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross.
A Hundred Days Off is Underworld reenergised and defiant in altered circumstances; bringing the light in at the start of a new phase.