Orbital (1993 album)
|Studio album by Orbital|
|Released||24 May 1993|
|Producer||Paul and Phil Hartnoll|
|Singles from Orbital|
Orbital is the second album by the British electronica duo Orbital. In the United States, the title was given as Orbital 2 on the album spine: in the rest of the world the album was released without a title, and it is commonly known as The Brown Album to differentiate it from Orbital's similarly untitled first album in 1991, Green Album, which had a green cover. It was released in May 1993 and reached #28 on the UK album charts.
On Orbital the duo aimed to make more atmospheric music than the dance raves of their first album. They used more complex rhythms and denser arrangements on the appropriately named pieces entitled "Lush" but still proving themselves capable of making quality pop music on "Halcyon + On + On", with vocals from Kirsty Hawkshaw of Opus III.
The album begins with "Time Becomes", which uses the same speech sample by the actor Michael Dorn in Star Trek: The Next Generation (Time squared - season 2 episode 13, Worf - 20'30 : "There is the theory of the Möbius. A twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop") which opened their first album. The piece uses phasing, a technique popularized by Steve Reich, in which two identical samples are repeated at slightly different speeds.
The second song on the album, "Planet of the Shapes", contains a sample from the movie Withnail & I ("even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day").
"Remind" is based on Orbital's previously-released "Mind the Bend the Mind" remix of "Mindstream" by Meat Beat Manifesto;. It is effectively an instrumental version of that mix, with the last remaining elements of MBM's original track removed.
The brothers enjoy aural puns, and the use of the sample from Star Trek: The Next Generation (which appeared on the opening of their first album) was meant to play with listeners by making them believe for a few seconds that they had bought a mispressing. The muffled intro on "Planet of the Shapes" has the intentional addition of record static and crackles, followed by the sound of a needle skipping grooves then scratching across the record, also meant to trick fans who bought the vinyl edition, by making them think their copy was less than perfect.
"Halcyon + On + On" and parts of "Lush II" were used in the 1995 Mortal Kombat film soundtrack.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Village Voice||C+|
The album received widespread acclaim. In the UK, NME praised the record, saying, "The techno album is a doughty brute to master. Only a few have managed it successfully [...] but Phil and Paul Hartnoll have done it twice... The expression 'intelligent ambience' is bandied around to describe spacey dance music with undue regularity, but Untitled actually satisfies the description. Scientific and terrific." Q also recognised that the duo had made a second successful album, saying, "Like their first album, Orbital's current effort is a finely balanced combination of muso trickery and astute dance tracks... Again, like the latter, it benefits from repeated listening." Melody Maker claimed that "This new album (untitled, like the first) puts them firmly back in the firmament". In a reference to the most talked about band at the time of the album's release, Suede and their sexually ambiguous frontman Brett Anderson, and including a pun on "Anarchy in the U.K.", the debut single by the Sex Pistols, the review concluded, "As warm as plasma and as eerie as ectoplasm, Orbital's (out-of-)body-music is the true sound of Androgyny-in-the-UK." Vox observed that "this collection sees Paul and Phil Hartnoll drifting still further into the heart of the machine, touching upon the sometimes fragile soul of Techno", before declaring that "Orbital are still leading the field".
This album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die alongside their 1994 LP 'Snivilisation'. It (along with the In Sides album) was also included in Q magazine's "90 Best albums of the 1990s". In 1996, Mixmag ranked the album at number 9 in its list of the "50 Best Dance Albums of All Time". In 1999, Ned Raggett ranked the album at number 21 on his list of "The Top 136 or So Albums of the Nineties".
- "Time Becomes" – 1:43
- "Planet of the Shapes" – 9:36
- "Lush 3-1" – 5:39
- "Lush 3-2" – 4:40
- "Impact (The Earth Is Burning)" – 10:27
- "Remind" – 7:57
- "Walk Now..." – 6:48
- "Monday" – 7:05
- "Halcyon + On + On" – 9:28
- "Input Out" – 2:11
On cassette, "Planet of the Shapes" was re-titled "Planet of the Tapes", but the track is identical.
Also on cassette, "Planet of the Shapes" is the first song on side 2, and is placed after "Remind" in the track listing.
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