Kinetic

As well as the slightly Orbital-by-numbers new track Copenhagen (which has grown on me over the last week) Orbital have celebrated their return by reworking an older track, Kinetic (a track they’ve reworked before admittedly). This 2017 version has some pretty spine tingling moments and is sure to work well with the crowd at the Apollo in December, a night when babysitters will be a premium in the Manchester area. Name your price teenagers.

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Impact

Of all the big hitters of the dance music world of the early 90s Orbital always seem to be the raviest, the least moody, the most up and optimistic. The first two Orbital albums, the green one and the brown one, are both essential snapshots of the duo and the scene. The second one (brown or 2) is a blast from start to finish, opening wiht the sampled voice talking about Moebius, time as a loop, the sampled then looped and played against another version of it. From there on in the synthesizers and drum machines take over and the Hartnoll brothers manage to make techno that is melodic and poppy, dance music that works at home, simple sounding tunes that are increasingly complex, all building towards the majesty that is Halcyon + On + On. Before that though there is the ten minutes of this track, three or four songs in one but all the same too- synths, sirens, clattering drums, breakdowns, build ups and half way through a voice… ‘it’s like a cry for survival’.

Impact (The Earth Is Burning)

Chime

Chime by Orbital is one of British dance music’s breakthrough moments, proof the UK could do what the US had been donig in Chicago and Detroit. Chime was written by the Hartnoll brothers in Kent in 1989. It was recorded in early 1989 onto cassette in their makeshift home studio, a cupboard under the stairs, using a recently acquired Roland TB 303 which had been bought from a working men’s club keyboard player. Legend has it that it cost  a fiver (a documentary I watched a while back), £3.65 (an interview where he describes having to shell out for a metal TDK cassette) or a single pound (wikipedia). Paul Hartnoll mixed it live onto a four track tape recorder and then went to the pub. Paul described the evening thus-

Chime’ started as a big riff from me playing this joyous Detroit-y chord progression that mirrored my mood — it was a sunny day and I was off to meet girls down the pub — and then I built a two-bar groove on the 909 that turned out to be rubbish until I decided to play it as one-bar loops.

Taking it down to the local record shop where mentor Jazzy M worked, they played it through the shop’s system and people started asking for it there and then. The full twelve minute one is the one you really want. This one here is a five minute edit. Shorter but still wondrous.

Chime

Belfast

Things at work are quite intense at the moment and the time to do them seems to be running out rapidly, the weekends are full, and the time to just sit and do little is short. Sometimes you just need to listen to a track like this, beautifully melodic techno from Orbital, originally released on the III ep back in 1991…

Belfast

The Naked And The Dead

I found this again recently, Orbital’s The Naked And The Dead, the B-side to their monumental 1992 Halcyon single. The Naked And The Dead samples Scott Walker doing Jacques Brel and borrows the title of Norman Mailer’s 1948 World War II novel. It is just shy of seven minutes of pounding, heady, forward thinking techno.

The Naked And The Dead

What Does God Say?

I was driving home last night reflecting on what has been a hectic and pretty intense start to the new school year- in my new role I am now responsible for the induction and mentoring of fifteen newly qualified teachers, six trainee teachers, and ten other new starters. Lots to be getting on with. And a move to a new office. My mp3 player, plugged into the cassette dock in my car stereo, started flashing that the battery was ‘dangerously low’. As I noticed the warning Orbital’s Are We Here? began to play. Fifteen minutes long, but never less than absorbing with its techno drums, building synths, ‘what does God say?’ sample,Specials’ Man At C&A breakdown and Alison Goldfrapp’s vocals. It played on and on and as the track finished and the next one began to cue up, with seconds to spare, the battery died. I don’t what the next song was going to be.

Are We Here?

Lush

Another 12″ single picked up in King Bee on Saturday afternoon, Lush by Orbital. The a-side has Lush 3-1 and 3-2 sequenced without a gap so they run straight into each other, ten minutes of the Hartnoll brothers brilliance bottled and bagged.

The b-side is the Underworld remix, Lush 3- all thirteen minutes of it, a bit tougher and trancier with the bpms pitched up. Enjoy the ride.

Has there ever been a compilation of the cream of Underworld’s remixes of other folk? Not to my knowledge. Why not?