Reviews

Orbital Wonky Album Review

A fantastic return which will appeal to middle-aged ravers and fresher ears alike.

It would seem that with their Star Trek-sampling track Time Becomes, from their self-titled LP of 1993 – “…where time becomes a loop,” repeats actor Michael Dorn – Orbital were already seeing into the future of a perpetual forever, locked into a pattern of repetition.

ORBITAL Wonky Review

Now, nearly 20 years on from the ‘brown album’, nearly all of what passed for pop culture back then is with us again now. Yet a new album from Orbital wasn’t a guarantee for 2012 – Phil and Paul would only enter the studio again, after a five-year hiatus from 2004, if their efforts were worthwhile. But public reaction to the pair’s 2009 live comeback confirmed they’d been much missed. As one of the first proper dance acts to transcend the rave scene and grow into festival headliners, some time before the likes of Leftfield and The Prodigy followed similar paths, Orbital’s audience has been sizeable for some time. Crucially, it’s also remained committed – and that loyalty has been rewarded with a set possessed by a new vigour, more spectacular than it perhaps has any right to be.

Wonky is loosely based around the concept of a journey. Phil and Paul actually drew a map of how they wanted the album to progress, with opener One Big Moment the sound of re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, announcing their arrival, leading to Straight Sun’s establishing beat that sets a defining tone. Distractions, with its burbling acid backing and mucked-about-with vocals, calls to mind moments from the ‘brown album’ era, as does the amazing Stringy Acid – although the latter is based on an old tune they found when rifling through early tapes. Elsewhere, Beezledub is the sound of Skrillex being hunted down by dubstep wolves; Zola Jesus screeches a bit of nu-gothery over New France; and the title-track gives Brummie MC Lady Leshurr the opportunity to have at it like a domestic Minaj, with just the right amount of builds to send a crowd into convulsions of pleasure.

Nobody would expect an eighth album by a band 20-plus years into its career to sound this fantastic, but time away has obviously helped re-energise the brothers into crafting this triumphantly grand return. It will leave middle-aged ravers ecstatic, and should allow a new generation to understand what their folks have been banging on about all these years.

Ian Wade 2012-03-28 via BBC Music


Classic Techno Tracks – Dave Clarke – The Storm

Released first as the B side track on the Red 3 12″ via both Deconstruction and ReLoad records and later on Clarkes first album Archive One this track was an underground smash from day one, it’s simplicity, heavy pounding kickdrum, reversed and slowly building synth line and the dark vocals supplied courtesy of an extract from a 1500s text by Francois Rabelais made it an unusual track at the time, even now we can see many of the tracks aspects (Especially the vocal track) were ahead of its time and still influential today.

Though this track my not be the most instantly dancefloor friendly of those on the Archive One album there is something in this track that grows inside of you and never leaves, it is by turns minimal, dark, foreboding, pounding and in the final analysis has a strong emotionally effecting core. The lyrics are on the surface just a reading from an old text but they have been selected well and can be seen almost as a clarion call to all “warriors” to go forth and fight for the music and scene they love. Perhaps this is too heavy a reading but I always feel the weight of this on me when I listen to this track and my enjoyment is enhanced by it.

Francois Rabelais to the Soul of the Deceased Queen of Navarre

Abstracted soul, ravished with ecstasies,
Gone back, and now familiar in the skies,
Thy former host, thy body, leaving quite,
Which to obey thee always took delight,–
Obsequious, ready,–now from motion free,
Senseless, and as it were in apathy,
Wouldst thou not issue forth for a short space,
From that divine, eternal, heavenly place,
To see the third part, in this earthy cell,
Of the brave acts of good Pantagruel?


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