Having taken their name from the huge circular motorway surrounding London and its part in the early rave scene, it seems the Orbital brothers have rather appropriately come full circle with their latest track and made a video involving a sped up car journey on the same motorway.
So far most early commenters seem to have said it’s not much of a progression from their older sound, but I’m not sure. The vocals owe more to the computer manipulated style of Oh Superman’s, replacing the early-90s floaty epicness of Belfast and Halycon & On & On with a more contained, contemplative sense of experimentation – exactly what they said they were going to do, basically, when they reformed in preparation for 2009’s summer festivals.
It’s certainly got the trademark Orbital epicness to it, but in a softer, quieter way – a long car journey at night, rather than the manic anticipation of travelling to a rave. When it kicks in at 2:13, the familiar rushes are allowed to break through and the track becomes alive, beating like a heart and cocooning you in warm waves.
One of my favourite Orbital tracks (if not favourite tracks, ever) still has to be Halycon & On & On.
The original (unembeddable) video plays on the story behind the track’s title, namely Paul and Phil’s mother’s experience on the prescription drug Halcyon, echoing Requiem For A Dream‘s super creepy diet-pills-and-cleaning scenes as a housewife hallucinates and trips her way through washing the dishes, lurching from ecstasy to fear in lurid technicolour. At the time of writing I am unsure as to where you can buy one of those plates with the Hartnell brothers’ faces on, but rest assured that if I find out, you will be told: a dinner party essential for the 90s rave generation, now in their 40s with a steady job, a mortgage and a gentle sense of loss.