The Altogether is Orbital's sixth studio album and was released in 2001. It features guest vocals by the Hartnolls' brother-in-law, David Gray, a sampled Ian Dury, a sample from 'Sober' by Tool and a version of the Doctor Who theme. It was Orbital's last album for FFRR and received a mixed critical reception.
For the US release, the album was given a double-disc treatment, with many of the songs on the second disc being B-sides from various other releases. Despite being initially billed as a limited-edition release, this version remains the standard US release.
Because the "Strongroom" (Orbital's London studio run by the unofficial "third member", their producer Mickey Mann) had capabilities for mixing surround audio they decided to make a DVD release of The Altogether. The DVD is very rich in content and has an extensive navigation that invites the viewer to explore and try out various things to find hidden features, for example in the Video to "Shadows" there are different angles available. The DVD features some fake commercials and an imaginary children's programme called "Play Factory" (also the video for "Waving Not Drowning"), is featured very prominently. The latter includes actor Brian Cant, in a similar role to that as presenter of Play School.
It features mixed audio in stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. The three hidden bonus tracks "Meltdown", "Doctor?" and "Monorail" (not mentioned on the cover) are Dolby Digital 5.1 only.
"The track grew out of incidental music we were doing for this BBC Two film [by photographer Nick Waplington for the TX series]," Paul Hartnoll told Q. "We had this '50s vocal sample and then decided to put a sort of surf guitar thing on top. It gives it this Batman-type feel. We decided to call it techno-skiffle or something."
^Mojo (Publisher) (5/01, p.116) - "...The trademark lush, sweeping soundscapes are here, but THE ALTIGETHER is more of an album of one-offs and collaborations, odd sound-sources and aural digs....the sound of a band having a lot of fun..."
^While the album certainly is a lot of fun, it may turn off fans who have come to expect moody electronica from the Hartnolls. [Oct 2001, p.98]
^The Altogether is, all stated evidence to the contrary, a remarkable work. Why? Because it is the product of two brothers who, understanding that they can kid neither the audience nor themselves, mapped a musical course based on their root love -- musical energy -- and never strayed. [Sep 2001, p.147]
^Muzik (5/01, p.61) - 5 out of 5 - "...Slick, self-assured...Hartnolls' ability to surprise remains firmly intact....Orbital not only remind you how good the 'Dr Who' theme is - but they can make you dance to it as well..."