I can imagine that the news of another band reforming is often met with the same weary resignation and indignation as a favourite film being pointlessly remade. There are exceptions, however, and I will always give Orbital a second chance. If nothing else, a reunion of the brothers Hartnoll afforded me the opportunity to witness their blistering performance on the banks of Hungary’s Lake Balaton in 2009.
With the exception of ‘In Sides’, Orbital have never been an album group but, selectively, they have produced more than several pieces of my favourite electronic music ever. It was with cautious excitement, then, I read John Mulvey claim on the Uncut Magazine website that ‘Wonky’, their first studio album for eight years, is “a more or less magnificent return to form”.
With breath firmly bated, Phil and Paul have generously offered a free taster in the shape of ‘Never’, which succeeds in being identifiably Orbital, without obviously re-treading old ground. That said, there is a luminous quality familiar from ‘The Girl With The Sun In Her Head’:
Plus, a gentle steal from the glacial ‘Monday Paracetamol’ by Ulrich Schnauss:
“Orbital will release their new album, ‘Wonky’ on the 1st April in the UK. The first studio album for eight years features vocals by Lady Lesurr and Zola Jesus. Wonky was recorded in a small studio in Orbital’s Brighton home base, then mixed in London with help from internationally acclaimed producer Mark ‘Flood’ Ellis, whose stellar list of previous collaborators includes PJ Harvey, U2, Nine Inch Nails and The Killers. Paul credits Flood with giving the album a more rounded, holistic sound.
‘I mostly remember Flood from all the electronic stuff like Cabaret Voltaire, Depeche Mode and Renegade Soundwave,’ Paul says. ‘One of his first and greatest loves is electronic music. He’s actually got a bigger synthesizer collection than us. He also has a good structural overview of music, because he’s not just a dance producer, he comes from a more holistic song viewpoint, which is how we like to approach it. I didn’t want to work with just a dance producer because I don¹t think this is a dance album, it¹s an electronic album.’”
More music to love: