Subtlety is such a difficult element to achieve within chillout music; I’d argue it is perhaps the clearest difference between a good artist and a great one. With “Underworld”, Polish producer Anfield hits the nail on the head. Gentle and warm, the track is as stripped back as it is intricate, a beautifully balanced demonstration of class.
Soft, lowpassed piano chords welcome the track in, layered with eerie sound effects that echo around the listener’s head. The intro is short, restrained as if to give the drop centre-stage. What a drop it is, too: the kick is barely present, a mere blip in the void to carry the track forwards. Aching vocal cuts dance through the pads, while a cavernous sub bass lends weight to the atmosphere.
It is worth taking a moment to appreciate the 2nd bar of this section specifically; hearing the way all the harmonics line up throughout the different layers feels like pulling your bed covers over you on a winter night. Thick though the soundscape is throughout, this one little section is, in my opinion, the highlight of the entire track.
Quickening the pace somewhat in the second half, the halftime rhythm is swapped out for a 4×4 groove. The eerie sound effects from the intro return in full force to give the atmosphere a slightly unsure quality, as if characterising a world previously unknown to the listener. Quite fitting, giving the title of the track.
Stream Underworld here: