Underworld & Iggy Pop – “Bells & Circles”

Underworld and Iggy Pop are both legends of underground music, and they were both famously featured on the Trainspotting soundtrack, but the music they’re actually known for making is very different. Underworld, a British electronic duo, had been making new wave and alt-pop for years before they got big, but they got big by marrying those rock music songwriting skills with dance music like techno and house and rave. And Iggy Pop, an American, became famous as the wildman fronting the Stooges, throwing himself around the stage and playing gritty, hard-charging proto-punk.

Over the course of his decades-long career, though, Iggy Pop has embraced experimentation. The last thing we heard from him, “The Pure And The Damned,” found him muttering and crooning over an emotive ambient synthscape from electronic composer Oneohtrix Point Never. And now he’s teamed up for a new single with Underworld, his old friends from the Trainspotting soundtrack.

Their collaboration, “Bells & Circles,” is a seven-and-a-half-minute song that’s mostly Iggy Pop doing stream-of-consciousness spoken-word over Underworld’s thumping electronics, talking about having wings and the good old days when everyone smoked on airplanes, occasionally breaking out into chitters and yelps while Underworld actually sing. It’s very weird, and you can listen to it below.

Read our ranking of the 10 best Underworld songs here and our ranking of Iggy Pop’s discography here. Underworld are set to perform at Belfast, at BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend festival in Belfast today.