Tag: Orbital

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

New Orbital album due in April plus UK Tour Dates

New orbital album ‘Wonky’ due in April this is their first album for eight years since 2004’s ‘Blue Album’ The album was recorded in Brighton and mixed by Depeche Mode/U2 producer Flood.

I’ve got to say this track does remind me of listening to Orbital while travelling along motorways like this one on the way to free raves and techno nights in Birmingham like the House of God and Atomic Jam at Que Club what a time. This track brings me back to those halcyon days. Thank you orbital for some of the best nights of my life.

Tour Dates April 2012
Thu 5th Apr Manchester Academy
Fri 6th Apr O2 Academy Leeds
Sat 7th Apr O2 ABC Glasgow (ABC1 & ABC2)
Sun 8th Apr O2 Academy Liverpool
Mon 9th Apr Cambridge Corn Exchange
Tue 10th Apr Royal Albert Hall (RAH) London

Full Details of the upcoming April 2012 UK/Europe mini tour are available at the official orbital site


Orbital at Glastonbury 2010 a Triumphant Return to Their Spiritual Home

I’ve spent most of the the last week at the Glastonbury festival and have seen all sorts of wild and wonderful stuff, from the extremely mellow and melancholy Unthanks, to the amazing antics of the lords of lightning at the Arcadia stage. But as I could have predicted but was not 100% sure about the standout moment of the weekend for me was Orbitals triumphant return to their almost regular slot at the festival.



Orbital have always been a great “Arena techno” act. But this time they outdid themselves. The set started out with some unchanged classics from the first two albums the production style could almost be said to have been slightly knowingly retro, but as I watched the set develop (and danced like a lunatic to the point were a girl on front of me asked if she could buy some of what I was on and looked confused when I offered her some organic wine from a plastic bottle) what I was noticing was the creeping in of some more modern and almost electro tinged edges to a few of the reworked tracks.

The new work Orbital displayed during the set (Don’t Stop Me & The Gun Is Good) were while not as atmospheric as some of their older work extremely good to dance to with good punch nice use of vocal samples and had definitely got that Orbital “epic” edge. I was trying to think of why Orbitals work still stands out after so long and I think it comes down to their ability to build a track from something atmospheric and almost verging on ambient into something powerful, easy to dance to and with a certain unmistakeable “Orbital Epicness”.

Of the whole set a lot of hype has surrounded the appearance of Matt Smith (the current Dr Who) on stage for their rendition of the Who theme which was the grand finale of the set. While having such a nice nerdtastic guest appearance is pretty cool, for me the stand out track of the evening was the current version of “Satan”. Just listen to the track and you will instantly recognise how ahead of their time orbital actually were, how progressive yet danceable, never getting caught up in having a sound linked to one particular style. The middle section of Satan almost sounds like a predecessor to a lot of the minimal techno we hear today but with that unmistakable Orbital stamp. All in all gig of the weekend for me and highly recommended if you can see them on tour, I even enjoyed the slightly odd use of a ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ by Belinda Carisle sample halfway through the set.

You can be sure of one thing. These boys still give great show.

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