Since debuting with their single ‘Chime’ in 1989, and their subsequent breakthrough shortly after, British brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll have continued to be one of the most successful acts in UK music. Alongside appearances on Top Of The Pops and performances at Glastonbury, the pair have worked with record labels like Polydor, EMI, and FFRR, and given us timeless anthems such as ‘Halcyon On And On’ and ‘Belfast’. More than three decades on and they are still putting out
new material, as they just released their 10th studio album, ‘Optical Delusion’. The record is a melting pot of different influences and styles, combining everything from electronica, big beat, pop, jungle, acid, and breakbeat, it also brings a generous serving of featured artists, with Mediaeval Baebes, Dina Ipavic, Penelope Isles, The Little Pest, Anna B Savage, Sleaford Mods, and Coppe all contributing. The most impressive thing about the album is Orbital’s ability to keep things sounding incredibly fluid and dynamic from start to finish, not a single track sounds stiff or static and even with its eclectic nature, everything flows effortlessly through each different genre and tempo. It’s one of the hardest things to achieve when making music, especially in todays digital world, and is yet another nod to the brothers calibre.
Where to start:
Are You Alive?: Dreamy vocals meet dynamic melodies and warm percussion
Home: Thumping drums, a chilling vocal, and thick basslines
The New Abnormal: Polished breakbeats and pitch-bent synth melodies
Previous from Orbital:
The Middle Of Nowhere LP (1999, FFRR)
Monsters Exist LP (2018, ACP)
If you like this then check out:
Leftfield – This Is What We Do LP (2022, Virgin)
The Chemical Brothers – No Geography LP (2019, Virgin)
Orbital – Optical Delusion LP is out now on Orbital Recordings.