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53
3.1 out of 5 stars
Pieces in a Modern Style
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2000
I can understand why dance music fans would be disappointed at this album, you hear a great piece of trance music that been in the charts for weeks and buy a record thats totally different. But I must point out that William Orbit does Ambient music, the radio version people were hearing was remixed by a guy called Ferry Corsten. However, if you are a fan of Cafe del mar and other chill-out style music or was already a fan of his Stange Cargos series, this is perfect. An relaxing remake of music of the Past. In my opinion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As other veviewers have noted, this William Orbit is by no means a classic and parts of it are rather dire - in fact, downright disappointing. However, one fact is worth noting - almost immediately after it was first released it was hastily withdrawn and record shops were asked not only to return unsold stock but, if possible, to reacquire for return any copies they had already sold. This was because of the threat of legal action because of some of the samples that were originally used. The recording was later reissued. Whether nor not this was after copyright problems had been resolved or because W.O. used alternative sources, I do not know, but if you're after a collectible it is that very first release that would be the one to get. It may also have had a different cover and have been tagged with the added credit 'The Electric Chamber'. That certainly all describes my copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2000
Those expecting more tracks like the dance re-mix of Adagio for Strings will be disappointed. These are definitely pieces in the modern style in terms of instrumentation, but Orbit has clearly remained respectful of the originals - there are no dance beats here (thank God!).You would need to pick your time carefully for listening to this album, as it does lean towards the sombre and introspective. Many of the pieces are common tunes that frequently turn up on classical compilations, but don't let that put you off. Their familiarity makes Orbit's style work all the better. I was fascinated by some of Orbit's reworkings and found myself warming to pieces that in their usual guise I am indifferent towards e.g. the Mascagni, which is stripped right down from syrupy strings to a very pure synthesised sound, which for me accentuates the emotion in the piece. And let's be honest, Satie would have loved the thought of his big, radiant chords being accompanied by helipcopter and an assorted bleeps!I would definitely recommend this album, but bear in mind I'm a classical fan who hates so-called "dance" music.I feel it has been a mistake markteting this album to the dance fans, as they will probably be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2000
People who jump into buying this simply on the basis of Ferry Corsten's outstanding trance remix of Adagio WILL be disappointed. For those that have an appreciation for melodic uplifting music (be it classical or trance), this album will be a worthy addition to any collection.
Orbit has honoured the composers by producing beautiful interpretations of the tracks whilst retaining and developing their original feel.
I for one am thoroughly please with the purchase and feel it will sit quite happily in the CD collection alongside the likes of BT and Paul van Dyk for those mellower moments when a kick drum just doesn't cut the sonic mustard.
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on 9 March 2000
Well, well it seems that Mr Orbits 'latest release'has really stirred up a hornets nest. I find this ironic because this work was actually released, albeit for a handful of days, in 1995. (It was withdrawn for copyright reasons). Unfortunately It seems that William has suffered the same fate that all 'credible' artists do when their work goes 'overground'. In 1995 it was released quietly to his own ambient/dance fanbase on his own N-Gram label. As you may see from the reviews it hits-the-spot with this audience. At its true release date he seemed to be 'educating' his listeners to the real roots of,'comedown music'(ambient). Now it suffers from a number of dubious factors:- a) Its 5 years out of context b) Wrong audience, (His status as 'producer de jour' has nailed him ref. All Saints, Madonna, Blur, Mel C et al). This is Brian Eno all over again. c)Worst of all fast-buck marketing of his work by a major label which commisioned the most mis-leading remix since Tori Amos' professional widow (It was Armand van Helden's work more than Ms Amos'). Yes I'm a fan, so I really enjoyed it in 1995 when it seemed to make so much more sense. As A club DJ & low key producer, I, (along with many of my peers) have to thank William for the gift of being able to drop the 1995 'Adagio for strings' as a emotional finale to many a set for the chemical generation. Ferry Corsten (remixer du jour of the chart placing single) simply enshrined this idea on plastic. So whats the overall conclusion? Well kids, If you want instant trance........Buy Ferry Corsten. Come downers If you want instant ambient........Buy FSOL. Classicists Stick to your own racks in record stores in future Remixers Remember its not actually your track If however you are interested in the man himself Buy the Strange Cargo Series. Still intrigued as to why Madonna called him a 'musical genius' Listen to Bassomatic - In the realm of the senses, look at the date on the disc and decide for yourself where all this trance stuff came actually from. Note that William was co-owner of the seminal Guerilla records. This is the label widely accepted as the starting point for what we now label `trance'. Harsher critics should listen to the Strange Cargo series & then consider this. Mr Orbit has never had any musical training and bought most of his high-tech instruments in junk shops. Ray of light was mainly produced on an ATARI computer for crying out loud. William if you are listening...... Give us Strange Cargo 5 sharpish mate, as your cred is taking a battering. If you want a running mate to get you back into the musical hinterland drop me a line.
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on 22 January 2000
An album of 'contemporary' versions of classical music - what an original idea! But hang on, haven't Walter/Wendy Carlos, Tomita, Rick Wakeman and God knows who else been doing this since the late sixties, with predictably naff results? And isn't it true to say that with the advent of PC's, sound cards and MIDI files it's never been easier for anyone with a PC and half a brain to produce electronic versions of classical music?
Having heard some of Orbit's previous work (Strange Cargo 3 - a great album) I thought perhaps he would make a decent job of this, especially after hearing the excellent dance version of Adagio for Strings. I thought we could expect an album of dance 'remixes' of the classics in a variety of modern styles. Not so. The dance remix that made it into the chart isn't here, in fact there are no real drumbeats and very little bass of any description throughout the entire album. What sort of contemporary album is that?! It doesn't even work as ambient, it's too lifeless and boring. Orbit relies here on predictable synth sounds and produces flat, uninteresting arrangements that are instantly forgettable.
I have to say that this is one of the most boring and disappointing albums I've heard in 20 years of buying all different kinds synth music. I've never taken such an instant dislike to an album before! Just think if it had been done by the Chemical Brothers or Orbital, or anyone else, I think we could have expected far more original and entertaining results!
If you want ambient stick to Global Communication, FSOL et al. If you want classical, stick to classical. If you want Orbit stick to Strange Cargo because this is pants. All that's missing are the leg holes and washing instructions.
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on 3 July 2015
What a simply awful review that Maxine Kabuubi of Amazon.co.uk has given this beautiful album, and I strongly disagree with her opinion. What she has had to say about this release simply isn't true. If as a William Orbit fan, you were expecting another volume in his hugely popular "Strange Cargo" series, then I can see how you might initially be a little disappointed, as this album is a completely different kettle of fish altogether. "Pieces In A Modern Style" was a completely new project on the part of Orbit and was never intended to be like the music of the Strange Cargo releases which preceded this album. This release showcases the ambient side of Orbit's music, and these interpretations and reworkings of well-known classical pieces are dreamy, ethereal in quality and very soothing. Here is a masterpiece testifying to what a fantastic and versatile musician, producer and arranger Orbit is. "Pieces In A Modern Style" conveys his appreciation of the great composers and I think it is a great tribute to them!
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on 19 January 2000
Oh dear, what a letdown this CD is after Orbit's other work. The last 2 'solo' albums (Strange Cargo & Hinterland) and his stunning production work with Caroline Lavelle and Madonna just don't prepare one for just how average this is. I have been a huge fan for the last few years, but as a lover of classical as well as pop, I have to say he has no feel for reinterpretation in the way that Walter/Wendy Carlos has. There's no excitement or stuff that takes your breath away. Instead we have (mostly) tired old analogue string machines churning out the music. You would think that keyboard technology stopped in 1977 listening to this album. There's even background hiss on one track - inexcusable. I think the fundamental problem is that Orbit has absolutely no understanding of how to voice the music in a new and exciting way - as The Art of Noise do on their brilliant Seduction of Claude Debussy. Stick to pop (in it's broadest sense) William - it's what you understand and you're brilliant at it.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2008
I bought this on the strength of Barber's Adagio.
Barbers Adagio is OK. The rest of this album is really very poor indeed.
You can download Midi files of most of the pieces on this album and play them, even with a basic soundcard in your computer.
They will play just about as well. Maybe that is what gave Mr Orbit the idea.

I'm sorry to say that I actually laughed when the Midi helicopter sound turned up towards the end of the album.
(Thats General MIDI patch 125, for those keyboard owning folks who want to join in at home!)

Just don't waste your money this album like I did.

That said....

If you want an album of electronic classical music that was (and is) properly impressive, that still sounds fresh today, buy Wendy Carlos' seminal "Switched-on Bach". This platinum selling album was originally recorded in 1968. It is awesome.
Before this, nobody knew what a synthesizer was.
After this, everybody knew the name Moog.
(rhymes with Vogue!)

For many other respectable electronic interpretations of classical pieces try: Tomita ("Clare de lune" is especially lovely IMHO)

If you want a thoughtful re-mix of classical music (specifically Debussy) in an ambient style, try "Shenzhou" by Biosphere.
(If you like pure beat-free ambient, try "Substrata" by Biosphere - probably the best true ambient album ever.)
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on 21 January 2000
I loved this album when he released it in 1995, under the guise of The Electric Chamber. It's still truely wonderful five years on. Of the eleven tracks on this re-issue seven are brand new.
They hype says "Orbit's new album", and there's enough there to make it new, but Pieces In A Modern Style is an old idea. What Orbit has done is to bring timeless music up to date, without dating it at all.
This is not an album full of trashy trance remixes like the pounding murder of Barber's Adagio that everyone must have heard. Note: Do not buy this CD if you are just looking for an hour of pumping System F beats.
Do buy this CD if you have an open mind and want to experience spine-tingling arrangements of Vivaldi and Beethoven.
Sit quietly for an hour, chill out, cry if you like. You won't hear music like this from anyone else.
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Pieces In A Modern Style
Pieces In A Modern Style by William Orbit (Audio CD)

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Barber's Adagio for Strings by William Orbit (Audio CD - 1999)

 
     

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Samuel Barber Northern String Quartet