When Underlapper first emerged, a collection of their own homespun CD-Rs went into circulation, track titles scrawled in green biro on TDK branded inlays. This demarkation clearly suggested that Underlapper were still in their embryonic phase, that they hadn’t quite decided that the world was ready for them. Yet the music itself, and their accompanying gigs, clearly showed a band who were more than ready to face the future. What they lacked in confidence, they more than made up for in their approach to experimentation and a willingness to imbibe influences from all corners, including those that might potentially discourage a swelling fan base.
Although experimental and post-rock influences were writ large, when Underlapper’s album ‘What Came Forth From The Sea’ finally dropped in 2004, they had taken an odd detour into Anticon country and had infused their sound with raw, Australian hip-hop vocals. Though unexpected, it did herald the fact that Underlapper were determined to diversify their sound and to eschew the notion to ‘play ball’ with expectations. To their eternal credit, there remains to this day no other example of Australian post-rock hip-hop. For this fact alone, even if that was end of their tale, Underlapper would have found themselves in 6pt black type in a tiny corner of the Australian Music history books.
Spool forward two years, and Underlapper drop kicked the hip-hop for their 2007 release ‘Red Spring’ – a release that should have come from a band twice their age, playing together for twice as long. Indeed, it could have come have come straight off the shipping container from Scandanavia, with sounds reminiscent of some of Iceland’s finest, minus the attendant histrionics. ‘Red Spring’ was a quiet melee of electronics and acoustics – pianos, flutes and bass all skirting around arpeggios and droplets of digitalism – somewhat disguising the inherent truth that Underlapper can write some simple and beautiful songs.
And so to ‘Red Spring Remixes’, released this month on Sydney’s Feral Media. Thirteen tracks recontextualise the original collection with a cast list that reads like a Who’s Who of Australia’s next wave of experimental artists – Broken Chip, Part Timer, Faux Pas, Karoshi, Aheadphonehome and, on the track below, Tom Smith aka Cleptoclectics, bursting out of his Prefuse-like skin to share a spiraling piece of sun-kissed beat science.
Underlapper – Meanderthal (Cleptocleptics Remix) | mp3
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img | matteo sasselli