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Middle of Nowhere
     

The Middle of Nowhere

by Orbital
 

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THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, the fifth proper album of the Hartnoll brothers' long-running electronic project, is their mellowest and fuzziest, built more on texture than on tune. Those expecting a follow-up to the electro-pop hit "The Box" (from 1996's IN SIDES) are likely to be disappointed, as nothing here has that kind of melodic cohesion. Instead the Hartnolls have

Overview

THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, the fifth proper album of the Hartnoll brothers' long-running electronic project, is their mellowest and fuzziest, built more on texture than on tune. Those expecting a follow-up to the electro-pop hit "The Box" (from 1996's IN SIDES) are likely to be disappointed, as nothing here has that kind of melodic cohesion. Instead the Hartnolls have clearly been listening to the Chemical Brothers, as evidenced in the stutter-step synths of "Know Where to Run" and the fact that all of these tracks circle around a single whomping idea for eight minutes or so. Some songs build to a hypnotic lather by layering timbre upon timbre: bubbling bass, trumpets, chimes, buzzes, human voices blurred into pure sound, and the tinny synth strings that are Orbital's trademark. Elsewhere, "Spare Parts Express" translates the single-minded riffy repetition of acid house into smooth, cartoon-inspired swoops that weave a splendid polyphony, while the two-part "Nothing Left" is as abstract and jittery as big beat gets.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
Electronica routinely covers more ground, more quickly, than any style of music on the planet; the hottest new sound in January is old hat by March and downright foolish to even mention in June. Orbital, however, is the great constant in the world of techno. Every few years, the brothers Hartnoll manage to turn in excellent albums that occasionally reference the latest sound but rarely vary from the chord-heavy melodics of their debut single, "Chime." Though it took a bit longer to release, Middle of Nowhere is another typically excellent Orbital album. Experiments with breakbeats and other styles of music made interesting mixers of their previous two albums, Snivilisation and In Sides, and this fifth album includes nods to big beat-techno ("I Don't Know You People") and soundtrack composers. The latter is hardly a surprise, considering the Hartnolls' sideline gig as score composers (Event Horizon, The Saint). The opener, "Way Out," adds trumpet solos and a symphonic grandeur -- reminiscent of John Barry's scores for the James Bond films -- to the quintessential Orbital sound. Even considering the lack of real progression in sound, Middle of Nowhere reflects the pair once again making all the right moves and not slowing down a bit.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/08/1999
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0643443106528
catalogNumber:
31065

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