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Global Underground is a music label founded in 1996 by Andy Horsfield and James Todd. The label symbolized the international explosion of dance music during the 1990s and first manifesto for high-end DJs such as Sasha, Paul Oakenfold, John Digweed, Danny Tenaglia, Nick Warren, Dave Seaman, Darren Emerson, and James Lavelle.
Global Underground refers to a series of electronic music compilation albums which reflect the performances of various DJs in venues around the world. The Global Underground series was released by a record label formerly known as Boxed which featured several sister series such as Nubreed and Electric Calm. Boxed closed in 2001 and was superseded by Global Underground Ltd. Since its first release in 1996, the series was well received and became a hallmark in the progressive house world. The dance music style featured is mostly Progressive House, but there is some House, Trance House, and Breakbeat included in the releases. The first five installments were live recorded from respective clubs, while the rest are mixed and recorded in a studio.
Each issue in the series is based on the idea that Global Underground would take DJs to play a party in one of the most unusual, exotic clubbing locations on Earth. The set is then released in a 2CD format that is formatted to capture the night of the party and the overall feel of the DJ visit in music, contemporary photography by photographer Dean Belcher and extensive sleeve notes.
There are consistent characteristics in almost every album in the series including:
- Each album being mixed by a globe-trotting DJ.
- The prominent influence of the location on the music and packaging.
- Extensive sleeve notes describing local clubbing scene and/or venue often written by Mixmag Editor Dom Phillips.
- Each album consisting of two discs.
- The song list is edited from the complete set based on a retrospective view of the performance.
- Photography by Dean Belcher
Billboard has recognized Global Underground as the first DJ mix compilation to place high-quality photographs of DJs on the album covers. This, it further asserted, played a part in turning DJs into superstar figures within the culture of electronic dance music.
Thrive Records was the US distributor for some of the early Global Underground releases which had a different numbering scheme for Global Underground albums. The releases came with different artwork, but were otherwise the same.
This is the complete listing of available albums in the Global Underground main series which includes the sequential number of the album in the series, the performing DJ/producer, the location in which the performance took place and the official release date. The listed catalog numbers are for the British releases. The numbers on the albums distributed by Thrive in the United States are shown in parentheses - those without such labels do not have a differing release number. Global Underground also has several "sub-series" entitled Nubreed, Prototype, 24:7, Electric Calm, Afterhours, and most recently Global Underground DJ.
- GU008: Nick Warren - Brazil is set in São Paulo even though it was released as Brazil.
- GU015: Darren Emerson - Uruguay is set in Punta del Este even though it was released as Uruguay.
- GU026: James Lavelle - Romania is set in Bucharest even though it was released as Romania.
- GU039: Dave Seaman - Lithuania is set in Palanga even though it was released as Lithuania.
- GU Sampler Series Releases
- GUSAM001 The Forth, Departures, Release Date: October 27, 1998
- GUSAM002 The Forth, Arrivals, Release Date: 1999
- GUSAM003 The Forth, Destinations, Release Date: January 29, 2001
- GUSAM004 The Forth, Locations, Release Date: 2001
- GUSAMUS001 The Forth, Passport, Release Date: 2001
- GUSAM005 The Forth, Exposures, Release Date: 2004
- GUSAM006 The Forth, Synchronised, Release Date: October 2005
- GUSAM007 Dubfunk, Synchronised 2, Release Date: November 6, 2007
- Anniversary Compilations
- GUXCD GU10 10th anniversary compilation Release Date: May 15, 2006
- GUDJ001 Nic Fanciulli, Release Date: April 27, 2009
- GUDJ002 Plump DJs, Release Date: October 12, 2009
- GUDJ003 Wally Lopez, Release Date: April 27, 2009
- GUDJ004 Tom Novy, Release Date: November 15, 2010
- NuBreed Series Releases
- NU001 Anthony Pappa, Release Date: March 13, 2000
- NU002 Danny Howells, Release Date: September 28, 2000
- NU003 Steve Lawler, Release Date: October 9, 2000
- NU004 Sander Kleinenberg, Release April 9, 2001
- NU005 Lee Burridge, Release Date: August 13, 2001
- NU006 Satoshi Tomiie, Release Date: July 29, 2002
- NU007 Jim Rivers, Release Date: March 30, 2009
- NU008 Sultan, Release Date: August 10, 2009
- PRO:001 Seb Fontaine, Release Date: April 29, 1999
- PRO:002 Seb Fontaine, Release Date: November 2, 1999
- PRO:003 Seb Fontaine, Release Date: April 18, 2000
- PRO:004 Seb Fontaine, Release Date: May 29, 2001
24:7 is a series where DJs are asked to put together a set of two notably contrasting halves, based on the conceptual opposites of 'day' and 'night'.
- 24:7 Series Releases
- GU247001 Danny Howells, Release Date: July 21, 2003
- GU247002 Lee Burridge, Release Date: September 15, 2003
Chill out compilations
Electric Calm is a series in the chill or "calm" side of electronica while Afterhours is similar to the Back to Mine series. Both Afterhours and Electric Calm, along with GU "Sampler" CDs, were compiled and mixed by Global Underground themselves.
- Electric Calm Series Releases
- GUEC001 The Forth, Release Date: September 30, 2002
- GUEC002 The Forth, Release Date: August 25, 2003
- GUEC003 The Forth, Release Date: February 13, 2006
- GUEC004 Dubfunk, Release Date: October 1, 2007
- GUEC005 Trafik, Release Date: December 7, 2009
- Afterhours Series Releases
- GUAF001 The Forth, Release Date: November 11, 2002
- GUAF002 Trafik, Release Date: February 21, 2005
- GUAF003 Trafik, Release Date: January 29, 2007
- GUAF004 Trafik, Release Date: July 16, 2007
- GUAF005 Unknown, Release Date: March 30, 2008
- GUAF006 Unknown, Release Date: July 28, 2008
In 2002, former NuBreed DJ Steve Lawler was given his own imprint on the Global Underground label that he titled "Lights Out". The concept of the series of mixed CDs was to bring the darker, grittier side of the dancefloor into the spotlight. Steve Lawler was allowed to dive into what were considered new territories of time including remixing tracks for his compilations. He also included music and methodology that had never been used on studio mixed CDs before.
- Lights Out Series Releases
- GULO001 Steve Lawler, Release Date: June 24, 2002
- GULO002 Steve Lawler, Release Date: October 27, 2003
- GULO003 Steve Lawler, Release Date: October 3, 2005
- Fundacion Series Releases
In 2003, the Global Underground franchise began their "GU Music" imprint. Up until this time, they were strictly a label that dealt in DJ compiled and mixed CDs. GU Music allowed Global Underground to get into full length artist albums and Vinyl/CD/MP3 single releases. The GU Music team commented: "Having nurtured some of the worlds finest DJs we have applied this expertise to original music, cherry picking the coolest future talent from across the globe..." They have featured releases from such artists as UNKLE, Lostep, and Trafik. In 2007, it expanded with the release of the compilation GU Mixed which started a series of the same name that consisted of music sought from GU Music.
- GU Music Album Releases
- GUMU001 Pako & Frederik - Atlantic Breakers, Release Date: October 20, 2003
- GUMU002 Trafik - Bullet, Release Date: October 4, 2004
- GUMU003 Lostep - Because We Can, Release Date: April 17, 2006
- GUMU004 The Remote - Too Low to Miss, Release Date: June 26, 2006
- GUMU005 Sissy - All Under, Release Date: 2006
- GUMU006 Dark Globe - Nostalgia for the Future, Release Date: 2006
- GUMU007 Trafik - Club Trafikana, Release Date: August 6, 2007
- GUMU008 Roland Klinkenberg - Mexico Can Wait, Release Date: August 20, 2007
- GUMU009 Eelke Kleijn - Naturally Artificial, Release Date: October 2, 2007
- GUMU010 Pako & Frederik - The Alert, Release Date: November 5, 2007
- GUMU011 Rogue Audio - Haphazard, Release Date: April 21, 2008
- GUMU012 Alex Dolby - Psiko Garden, Release Date: June 17, 2008
- GUMU013 The Last Atlant - A Cloudburst of Colors, Release Date: August 25, 2008
- GUMU014 Anil Chawla & Dale Anderson - Roadhouse, Release Date: February 23, 2009
- GUMU015 Trafik - None But the Brave, Release Date: June 21, 2010
- GU Mixed Releases
- GUMIX1CD CD1, CD2, CD3 In mixed and unmixed formats, Release Date: May 21, 2007
- GUMIX1CDX CD1, CD2, CD3, CD4 Limited Edition in mixed and unmixed formats, Release Date: May 21, 2007
- GUMIX2CD CD1, CD2, CD3 In mixed and unmixed formats, Release Date: September 3, 2007
- GUMIX2CDX CD1, CD2, CD3, CD4 Limited Edition in mixed and unmixed formats, Release Date: September 3, 2007
- GUMIX3CD CD1, CD2, CD3 In mixed and unmixed formats, Release Date: June 16, 2008
- GUMIX3CDX CD1, CD2, CD3, CD4 Limited Edition in mixed and unmixed formats, Release Date: June 16, 2008
- GUMIX4CD CD1, CD2, CD3 In mixed format, Release Date: May 25, 2009
In Boxed's UK releases, GU002 was the never released second installment in the Global Underground series (in Thrive's US re-numbered releases, Paul Oakenfold's New York mix was released as GU002). Global Underground jumped directly from GU001: Tony De Vit - Live In Tel Aviv to GU003: Nick Warren - Prague, which resulted in a lot of controversy and rumours on the nature of GU002. However, GU002 does exist in form of the tape pack of Tony De Vit's Tel Aviv CD as the actual catalogue number of the release is GU002T. When Boxed started the GU series in 1996, they did not have a clear vision about the numbering scheme (later to become part of their image), which resulted in the "missing" release.
- Mason, Kerri (June 17, 2006), "BeatBox: Wink with a Nod to Compilations", Billboard 118 (24): 62, ISSN 0006-2510