To all intents and purposes, Underword’s Rez should never have been a hit.
Having had limited success in the latter part of the 80s, the early 1990s saw Karl Hyde and Rick Smith of Underworld appoint a new member, Darren Emerson, to assist with the band’s progression from synth-pop nobodies to techno legends. This was encapsulated by the release of the epic dubnobasswithmyheadman in January 1994.
Rez was recorded during the sessions for this album but never made the final cut, and was instead released on a limited edition pink vinyl on Junior Boys Own records in 1993. Its underground popularity led to it being reissued as a double A-side with Cowgirl (from dubnobasswithmyheadman) in 1995, and it later made it on to the bonus disc of follow up Second Toughest in the Infants in 1996.
Given that it was recorded so early in the ‘second phase’ of Underworld’s career, there’s a simplicity to the opening arpeggio chord progression that is unlike anything else recorded at the time, and has certainly not dated in the slightest.
In an interview with Billboard magazine, Underworld sought to sum up the lasting allure of what is now regarded as one of their standout compositions.
“Firstly it has a joyous, celebratory sound that seems to impart positivity and good vibes whenever it’s played. And secondly it doesn’t sound like anything else. It didn’t sound fashionable when we first released it, and it certainly wasn’t made for any one scene or type of DJ like so much dance music has been over the years. Someone once said it’s the sound of a techno ice cream van coming towards you. Who doesn’t like that?”
12 TUNES OF CHRISTMAS: The Story So Far
#12: Royal House – Can You Party
#11: LFO – Freak
#10: Maurice – This Is Acid (K & T Mix)
#9: T99 – Anasthasia
#8: Laurent Garnier – Sound of the Big Babou
#7: Aphex Twin – Come To Daddy
#6: X-101 – Sonic Destroyer
#5: The KLF – What Time is Love?
#4: Pump Panel – Confusion (Pump Panel Reconstruction)
#3: Underworld – Rez