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Underworld is a darker musical journey than his previous outings. But that doesn’t prevent Robert Fox’s emotional and anthemic style shining through. Indeed, with minimalist passages also in evidence, this is an innovative and adventurous album worthy of the praise it has received.

“Underworld’ is a breath of fresh air and a strong contender for album of the year.” – Synth Music Direct, UK.

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1 review for Underworld

  1. Admin

    Review by Steve Roberts, SMD.

    The Robert Fox extended soundtrack for the Mikrokosmos Theatre Company’s production of ‘Faustus’, also directed by Robert, takes its musical themes and inspiration from Marlowe’s play. In the play Faustus enters into a contract with the devil and eventually pays the price but knowledge of the play’s narrative is not an essential prerequisite to enjoy the music on offer here.

    Ominous tolling bells initiate the first track ‘Portent’, a fittingly restless prelude to the superbly atmospheric electronics evoking a restless sonic nightmare. ‘Mephistopheles’ begins with a richly dense gothic soundtrack with powerful percussion effects before Fox delivers one of his top drawer evocative, yet understated melodies, stately but tinged with melancholy. ‘Underworld’ utilizes voices, chants and whispers to great effect as a minimalist backdrop to some fine piano and keyboard work.

    ‘Hot Whore’ opens with a salvo of exotic Vangelis-style electronic treatments before settling into a piano riff and periodic expansive full-on keyboard sound interspersed with more minimalist improvisation passages.

    ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ has a highly charged, unsettling, impressionistic introduction before undergoing a variety of changes, including Vangelis-style phrasings and dramatic percussion with clever touches of light and shade provided by some sensitive piano and voice samples. Fox serves up a more typically expansive melody on the excellent ‘Angel’ providing a more relaxed ethereal atmosphere.

    On ‘Helen of Troy’ a lighter feel is provided by the marimba effects but Fox retains the superbly crafted melodics. The tracks cross fade into a seamless work with occasional linking tracks providing interesting musical bridges.

    ‘Anthem’ changes the style by using melodic ethnic chanting but does not depart from Fox’s oeuvre. The consummate craftsman serves up yet another inspiring anthem. ‘Redemption’ closes the album in quiet, reflective but no less inspiring mood.

    ‘Underworld’ is classic Robert Fox but at the same time is a more ambitious work as the composer’s horizons are broadened to include darker realms which only serves to enhance Fox’s more familiar melodic stylings. As well as broadening his constituency, Fox somehow manages to make ‘Underworld’ sound even more personal and emotive than previous works. That is no mean feat.

    ‘Underworld’ is a breath of fresh air and a strong contender for album of the year.

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