The Altogether [UK]

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Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
The Hartnoll brothers Paul and Phil earned their rep as electronic music pioneers, scoring pop hits in their native U.K. 1989's "Chime" and pushing the technology before them with tracks like the acclaimed 28-minute single "The Box." With their sixth studio album, The Altogether, Orbital don't equal the adventurousness of previous releases, but they do tuck enough surprises into their deftly made dance tracks to preserve their position as class-A electronic music careerists. The first such treat comes on "Illuminate," a rhythmic, mid-paced song that, bolstered by a vocal turn from folk-pop singer David Gray who turns out to be Phil's brother-in-law, becomes an ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
The Hartnoll brothers Paul and Phil earned their rep as electronic music pioneers, scoring pop hits in their native U.K. 1989's "Chime" and pushing the technology before them with tracks like the acclaimed 28-minute single "The Box." With their sixth studio album, The Altogether, Orbital don't equal the adventurousness of previous releases, but they do tuck enough surprises into their deftly made dance tracks to preserve their position as class-A electronic music careerists. The first such treat comes on "Illuminate," a rhythmic, mid-paced song that, bolstered by a vocal turn from folk-pop singer David Gray who turns out to be Phil's brother-in-law, becomes an unlikely, but effective, melancholic synth-folk hybrid. Other happy surprises include "Doctor?," an eerie piece originally commissioned by BBC-TV for their "Dr. Who Night," and "Tootled," on which the Hartnolls graft a sample of Tool's "Sober" to a funky rhythm track without stooping to a dreaded funk-metal mess. "Oi!," another sample-based cut, makes for a passable club track, splicing a yelp from the late Ian Dury's "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick" and a bit from his "Reasons to Be Cheerful Part 3" to a somewhat groovy beat; unfortunately, the dated-sounding background noises cheesy, '80s-ish synths; faux whistle blasts detract a bit from the innovation we've come to expect from the super-talented Harnolls . Serious fans may get more mileage out of the bonus disc included with U.S.-released copies -- it includes previously unreleased recordings "Monorail", rare remixes "Bagpipe Style," "An Fhomhair", and various B-sides "Much Ado About Nothing Left," "Mock Tudor". It may not be a groundbreaking disc, but The Altogether is packed with quality and quantity, making it required listening for Orbitalites of all stripes.
All Music Guide - Glenn Swan
In the follow-up to the 2000 release Middle of Nowhere, brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll return to the dance floor again, but one wonders why. With Orbital's albums of the early to mid-'90s, the duo not only defined the dance-trance genre but shined on the cutting edge of it. This time out, it feels like an effort. Just like Middle of Nowhere, The Altogether takes too long to get going before it comes to an end. To be fair, the brothers should be commended for trying something new -- because that is, after all, the nature of electronica. The open-ended rise and fall of "Meltdown" and the club-friendly drive of "Last Thing" are reminiscent of past glories, but the absolute standout of the album is "Doctor?," a brilliant, flowing, and dangerous cover version of the original theme song to the BBC's Doctor Who. This track alone almost gives the album another star. Clearly, the Hartnolls want to explore, but this mostly cold album doesn't feature enough discoveries. David Gray, the British folk-rocker, shows up on the track "Illuminate" as a co-writer and vocalist, but somehow seems like a fish out of water. The gap is too far to bridge, and it gives the sense that the brothers in Orbital want to be something other than themselves. Undeniably, there is a very clean sound with this duo, but clean electronics at face value become little more than a technical exercise. Even in this respect, bands like Kraftwerk have had a better success rate. The Altogether's album artwork seems especially fitting: X-ray skeletons that glow with the hint of electricity, but have no actual meat on their bones. Orbital is either uninspired or saving up for something better next time.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/31/2001
  • Label: Wea International
  • EAN: 9325583011368
  • Catalog Number: 87782

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Tension (5:52)
  2. 2 Funny Break (One Is Enough) (4:55)
  3. 3 Oi! (5:04)
  4. 4 Pay Per View (5:11)
  5. 5 Tootled (4:51)
  6. 6 Last Thing (5:12)
  7. 7 Doctor? (5:30)
  8. 8 Shadows (5:47)
  9. 9 Waving Not Drowning (4:31)
  10. 10 Illuminate (5:27)
  11. 11 Meltdown (10:19)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Bagpipe Style
  2. 2 Monorail
  3. 3 Much Ado About Nothing Left
  4. 4 An Fhomhair
  5. 5 Doctor Look Out
  6. 6 Beelzebeat
  7. 7 Nothing Left Out
  8. 8 Old Style
  9. 9 Funny Break (Weekend Ravers Mix)
  10. 10 Mock Tudor
  11. 11 New Style
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Orbital Primary Artist
David Gray Vocals
Clune Background Vocals
Dominic Glover Trumpet
Technical Credits
Ron Grainer Composer
Paul Hartnoll Composer
Phil Hartnoll Composer
Kevin Metcalfe Mastering, Cut
Micky Mann Producer
P & P Hartnoll Composer
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