Below the Waste is Art of Noise’s fourth full-length original album and their last album for China Records before Anne Dudley re-formed the group with ZTT’s Trevor Horn and Paul Morley for 1999’s The Seduction of Claude Debussy.
The album saw the group experimenting with world music, collaborating with South African Zulu group Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, who provide a heavy layer of mostly non-English-language vocals on three tracks (“Yebo!”, “Chain Gang” and “Spit”). The album was produced by Anne Dudley, Ted Hayton and J.J. Jeczalik.
The album represents the diverging interests of the two remaining members of the original group, Anne Dudley and J.J. Jeczalik. Dudley’s influence is evident in the album’s ambient interludes of melodic, orchestral pieces, while Jeczalik’s influence can be heard in the album’s dub tracks and harder, rock-edged pieces. The latter songs also feature arrangements more typical of the band’s earlier material, utilising sampling techniques, lengthy fade-outs, a diverse mixture of classical instruments, guitar riffs and percussion typical of industrial music.
Like its predecessor, In No Sense? Nonsense!, the album also features cover versions of previously recorded themes composed for television and film, namely “Robinson Crusoe” (originally the theme to the 1964 television programme The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe) and “James Bond Theme” which was submitted for the soundtrack of the 1989 James Bond film Licence to Kill and subsequently rejected by the film’s producers.