You know why Underworld has consciously diminished their days as foppish, sub-Sputnik raconteurs: Once, they were just another stupid electro-pop band. Now they've been determined "important," as their contributions to dance music have been a major factor in redefining the the creative possibilities of "electronica." The 16-track collection "1992-2002" feels like the closing of a chapter, neatly summarizing the decade of bass-thick dancefloor ingenuity that's led to the current scene's fractured glitch and smooth downtempo. (And no, there's not a single cut from the group's pre-Darren Emerson days.) Despite the alarming freshness each of these tracks had when released, it's an inescapable truth of dance music that, when divorced from the immediacy of what's happening right now, reflection renders much of it either nostalgic or ridiculous. Thankfully, the quality control that's defined Underworld's entire output means that cuts like "Born Slippy," "Dirty" and the brain-scrapingly acidic "Moaner" may not sound fresh a decade after the fact, but at least they still sound good.
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