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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In Sides

(ffrr/Internal, 1996)

We spent most of the seventies and early eighties thinking of techno/disco music as dancing music to be danced to, not to reflect and chill out to. It started with Kraftwerk and led to acts like the Pet Shop Boys, who told us in 1986 that you can think about social struggle or in society's moral decadence while dancing in a night club. Pet Shop Boys used the sung word to express these issues. Brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll used the pure electronic sounds of their synths and programmers to express life itself in what was the best electronic record of 1996. Thinking bits assembled perfectly to make statements on pollution and inner peace. They even recorded the breathable opus "Girl With The Sun In Her Head" using only solar power, and the visionary feeling of clean energy music is right there. Orbital actually gave us the vision to realize we can do something about our planet. And it took them 10 minutes to do so.
Using haunting synth loops and real drumming, they create a 12 minute opus called "The Box," a mash-up of the best that Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk ever gave out. Punching bass synth lines, the sensation of being driving on an endless highway in the British Rain, and a perennial sense of desolation. But it's good to be alone with music like this.
Orbital's In Sides is a masterpiece in electronica, and it is a perfect introduction for Classic Rock fans who are looking for something different. It will open more doors than you can imagine with songs like "Dwr Budr" (Dirty Water) and "Out There Somewhere," two trips to space and back.


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