Through the hazy rose tinted glasses of the raver of days gone by, Orbital II is generally regarded as THE Orbital album. The epic medley which starts off with Lush 3-1, the Opus 3 sampling Halcyon + On + On ... the perfect album to remind you of those times gone by. For me, however, this is THE Orbital album for me. Everything up to and including In Sides has been a wicked progression on the part of Orbital (it kinda goes a bit downhill after that, but hey ho!). Snivilisation ramps up the production quality, out go the acid house beats and rave-y stabs, in come smootly programmed electro beats, lush inviting synths and epic tracks. The orchestral meets electro opener Forever gently eases you into the album before the burbling I Wish I Had Duck Feet shows you that Orbital have decided to get a bit more experimental with their sound. You know you've hit on something special when Sad But True kicks in, I've had many a wicked time wandering around with this track blaring into my ears. Dubby electro beats, harsh acidic synths and then out of nowhere ... Alison Goldfrapp comes into the mix and takes you up to a blissful height. A amazingly crafted track. Crash And Carry harkens back to their acid house sound of earlier albums, thrashing, very progressive trance with epic stabbing synths. A really driving track. Science Friction kicks off a nice little medley twosome, a chilled electro track with gentle synths before shifting up a gear and becoming more melacholic as it moves into Philosophy By Numbers with its 'evil professors lab' bubbling noises and samples of people asking you if you'd like to study philosophy. Kein Trink Wasser starts off with a wall of pianos, before breaking down into a bouncy little electro track. Quality Seconds ... well alright, they're not so quality, in fact the skip button comes into play on this one, LUCKILY its a 1 minute blip in a wonderful journey. Its basically, thrash rock hardcore. Everything is restored as you hit the 15 minute breakbeat epic Are We Here? it shifts through so many moods and changes, frantic alarm sirens, tribal beats, eerie vocals ... it starts off quite dark before shifting up towards a more optimistic mood towards the end. The album is nicely rounded off with an ambient classic Attached, chilled electro beats, gentle acid synths and a lovely orchestral string sample filters in up and around the track. The perfect way to end.
Orbital manage to show that there was more to them than just the acid house sound of their previous album without completely leaving their roots behind. It also shows how they ended up progressing to the more orchestral sound of the also fabulous In Sides. Some parts acid house, some parts film score ... a fantastic album with wicked scope. Get it. Then get In Sides, then get Orbital I & II. It'll cost you more than the 'Best of....' but its FAR more rewarding!