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Underworld & Iggy Pop | Teatime Dub Encounters

A light, tasty snack from a streetwalkin' cheetah and some modern guys.

As an entertainment reporter, I used to go on my share of movie junkets. You’d fly to L.A. or New York, usually for a weekend, preview some upcoming films and then sit for round-table interviews with the cast and filmmakers. A lot of the films were awful, natch. But every so often you’d luck into something cool — like the Trainspotting junket I went to in 1996. I talked to director Danny Boyle — I remember asking him how often he was mistaken for Morrissey, to which he laughingly replied something like: “In North America? Every day!” And I chatted with co-stars Jonny Lee Miller (now he’s CBS’s Sherlock Holmes; back then he was married to Angelina Jolie), Robert Carlyle and Ewen Bremner. I don’t recall if Kelly Macdonald was there, though I think author Irvine Welsh might have been. I know Ewan McGregor wasn’t; the newly minted star was already too cool for the room. But I also recall that even though the movie arrived amid plenty of hype, nobody thought it would become a cultural touchstone that launched several careers — and gave Iggy Pop his biggest mainstream hit. That of course, would be his hedonistically pumping ’70s drug anthem Lust For Life, prominently featured on the film’s smash-hit soundtrack. Soon it was being inappropriately used to hawk everything from Caribbean cruises to cars, giving Pop a reliable source of income, and helping him slowly but surely transform from the world’s forgotten boy to an elder statesman of rock. The other tent pole on the wildly popular disc, of course, was Underworld‘s relentless raver Born Slippy.NUXX, which helped introduce North America to Britain’s electronica mini-boom of the late ’90s. Given all that, it should come as no surprise that when Boyle was prepping his 2017 sequel T2 Trainspotting, Underworld enticed Pop to join forces on some new material. The fruits of their labours, reportedly cut in a series of hotel rooms over a few weeks, are gathered on this cheekily titled EP. Fittingly, it’s a light, tasty little snack. Underworld‘s Rick Smith and Karl Hyde serve up four platters full of the darkly throbbing grooves and buzzy, pulsing synths that have long been their stock in trade. Iggy the semi-retired raconteur tops them with good-natured ad libs and curmudgeonly grousing about the glory days of air travel, his old pals The Stooges, the death of fun and the inevitable domestication of bad boys. Which is to say: Here comes Johnny Yen again. With the mortgage and house. And the … um, shirt. OK, it isn’t very rock ’n’ roll. But we all have to grow up sometime. Even streetwalking cheetahs and modern guys.