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The Ideal Condition [CD]

Paul Hartnoll Audio CD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
Price: 9.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Jun 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: ACP Recordings Ltd
  • ASIN: B000OPP7PY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,824 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Haven't We Met Before
2. For Silence
3. Simple Sounds
4. Please
5. Unsteady Waltz
6. Nothing Else Matters
7. Patchwork Guilt
8. Aggro
9. Dust Motes

Product Description

BBC Review

The Ideal Condition is the debut album from Paul Hartnoll, previously one half of pioneering electronic group Orbital who split in 2004. It's an expansive and melodic piece of work which combines epic orchestral arrangements and poignant electronica, showing a real warmth and depth of soul. The Ideal Condition sees a continuation of the cinematic soundscapes favoured by Orbital, updated with a fusion of evolving, electronic beats and acoustic instrumentation.

''Please'', the first single from the album, is a stabbing textured track featuring the dark and introspective vocals of Robert Smith from The Cure, evoking his trademark forlorn singing style, with hints of desperation and pleading in his voice. Rolling electronic beats provide the backdrop and the track is softened by backing vocals from Lianne Hall; who features on the first track ''Haven't We Met Before''.

''Haven't We Met Before'' provides the album with a grand introduction, conjuring similarities to the opening act of an opera or classical composition. The full orchestra and 32 piece choir establish this album as a remarkably spacious production, drawing from a variety of different genres; acoustic instrumentation, folk and progressive dance elements, which combine to take the listener on an emotional journey. The feeling of motion is reinforced on the fifth track ''The Unsteady Waltz'' which recalls elements of classic minimalist piece ''Different Trains'' by composer Steve Reich. The driving, melodic narrative conjures images of travel, a similar theme repeats in the driving synthesizer of ''Simple Sounds''.

''Nothing Else Matters'' is a lush, string infused ballad featuring the distinctive voice of Akayzia Parker whose warm, rich vocals complement the strings and piano beautifully, producing a rousing love song punctuated by a gentle undulating drum beat. By far the stand out track from The Ideal Condition, ''Nothing Else Matters'' demonstrates Hartnoll's skill to combine the grand string infused sound of contemporary classical composition with a heavy nod to his electronic background. The Ideal Condition at times creates a haunting landscape, at others beautiful pop-tronica, definitely a musical journey worthy buying a ticket for. --Keira Sinclair

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soundtrack-esque! 14 May 2007
Format:Audio CD
The long-awaited solo album from one half of British dance music pioneers Orbital. Nobody can deny how influential and groundbreaking their style was, and still sounds to this day. So in the 3 years since Orbital's official end, in what direction has Mr Hartnoll's musical creativity taken him?

The answer - loads of directions!

There's a bit of something for everyone here, particularly if you're a film director and are in need of a soundtrack... Departing somewhat (but not totally!) from Orbital's downtempo electronic soundscapes, this album is much more organic, with grand orchestras and choirs galore, and is certainly a very mature piece of work on the whole.

Paul Hartnoll has managed to blend the sweeping, building orchestral songs with starkly contrasting vocal tracks, without the album sounding messy and unfocused.

All in all, it's not only going to appeal to staunch Orbital fans, but also to a wider audience because no doubt we'll be hearing some of the tunes on the TV and in films at some point!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An evolution and courageous personal expression 4 July 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Paul will never be completely unshackled from his Orbital legacy, and given their low-key history, it is inevitable that most of his early audience will be curious Orbital fans.

Listeners will get a hybrid of orchestral electronica both clearly from the same mind. There are definite traces or Orbitals best work there, but also a more refined evolution.

4 of the more electronic tracks instantly blew me away, with 'For Silence' being my personal favourite for sheer beauty, then a close run race between Patchwork Guilt, Nothing Else Matters and the excellent collaboration with Robert Smith, 'Please'.

But there is something else here too, the real *live* orchestra that Paul assembled for the recording shows a more mature artist and adds a thrilling depth. It's not as immediately accessible, but I do get where he's coming from and congratulate him on being brave enough to do what is true for him.

Buy this album, get next to the best speakers / headphones you can find and allow Paul to show you where his head's at, it's a rewarding trip.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Well, if that didn't say it enough I don't know what will. I do agree to an extent to the earlier poster's views that Orbital's best work was up to Middle of Nowhere, afterwhich they went downhill, though sadly/happily came to an abrupt end the latter half of 2004.

Paul Hartnoll should not be confused with Orbital - sure, he was one half of Orbital, but now he's doing his own thing as since he isn't going under the name of Orbital, I say he can pretty much do whatever he likes and get away with it: I guess what he's really looking for is an audience, and although the Orbital fanbase loves the music that both Paul and his brother Phil have produced over the last 10-15 years, it doesn't necesarilly mean that that same audience is ready for this. It's a step in a completely different from anything Orbital have ever done, and tbph I'm really enjoying it as a standalone album and would probably go out and buy it even if I hadn't heard the whole thing through yet.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Not innovative? Christ, cut the guy some slack, has he not already provided us with enough innovation for a lifetime? Besides, I've not heard anything like this as of late.

Perhaps you will enjoy it as I do. I can see why people wouldn't like the album, the first time I listened to it, I was thinking.. weak. But it's been growing on me, in fact, hasn't been out of my player for a week. Every time I listen to it I hear some new moment of brilliance.

I wouldn't say that every track is dope, or that the album on a whole is the best I've heard or *may* have expected. But will say that each track offers something valuable - many amazing bits & pieces that amount to an overall solid album.

Stands up for sure.

Track #5 starting at around 1:45 is a stunner.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. Stuart Bruce TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
What a brilliant album this is. The first single "Please" made me expect that this sound exactly like an Orbital album, but it's different, just the right amount of different to please both Orbital fans and new listeners. It's very strong, polished and confident.

In interviews Paul Hartnoll has said that he's been aiming to get more into doing film soundtrack work, and in this album you can definitely tell.

Hartnoll's use of an ensemble of violins and a choir on tracks like "Haven't We Met Before?" and "Nothing Else Matters" is brilliant, just the right balance of authentic and electronic.

Tracks like "Please" and the extremely David Bowie-like vocals on "Aggro" give the album a slightly rockier edge in parts.

Stand-out track for me is "Patchwork Guilt". As with Orbital albums in the past, there's one track that I could listen to over and over again without getting bored, and on this album "Patchwork Guilt" is it.

My ONLY criticism would be that at under 50 minutes, it is too short. It would have been a bonus if some of the tracks had been extended, maybe to Orbital-like proportions, as this album really leaves you wanting more.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very satisfying and beautiful record 8 Jun 2007
Format:Audio CD
As an Orbital fan, it has been a bit of a wait for new material to well materialise, and all I can say is that it was more than worth it.

Paul Hartnoll has captured the essence of what made Orbital so vital and expanded their areas of orchestration, catchiness and intensity to an even higher level. There can't be many more beautiful opening songs on any album in 2007 than "Haven't we met before?" it is breathtaking and things don't let up accross the rest of the album.

At a shade of 50 minutes long, it's not a grand epic, it is a punchy and refreshing album that will lift you up, chill you out and occasionally take your breath away. The first single "Please" sees Robert Smith vocals accompanied by a dance tune that will have you dancing away in no time.

I really missed Orbital when they split up, as there wasn't anyone who compared to their intelligent dance music, 3 years on and I'm pleased to say that the Ideal Condition not only fills the void but makes me excited for the future of Paul Hartnoll.

All I can say is welcome back, and thanks for not disappointing us.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Orbital meets Ennio Morricone (with some vocals)
Cards on the table - I love Orbital, I've grown up with them from "Chime" onwards. I was a bit worried about what this would be like. Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2008 by Pob75
5.0 out of 5 stars ORBITAL BROTHER PULLS AT THE HEARTSTRINGS IN A MAGNIFICIENT WAY!...A...
Seeing as orbital probably wont be getting back together in a hurry- they're brothers, and possibly to maintain some sanity/resepct/love after nearly 15 years composing together,... Read more
Published on 17 July 2008 by Mr. S. R. Dhain
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Superb album , 'Patchwork guilt' is a lesson to all how to make electronica however i dont think 'Aggro' should of been put on the
album it really upsets the flow.
Published on 19 May 2008 by Mr. Tyrone Power
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Disappointing
Some reviewers say that this album is courageous. He's quite obviously strayed way out of his comfort zone. Read more
Published on 21 Nov 2007 by woppo
5.0 out of 5 stars It's new, it's exciting, get over it!
I agree whole heartedly with JimmyX2 - this is a great album, he's done something different and although a couple of tracks are a bit clumsy it works as a whole. Read more
Published on 27 Sep 2007 by Wall boy
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
I was very concerned when I read that someone wanted to put a zero rating for this album. Why? The only reason I can come up with is that the reviewer doesn't like the orchestra... Read more
Published on 1 Sep 2007 by Mr. J. Ekema
5.0 out of 5 stars missing orbital anyone?
i got into orbital pretty late and by the blue album it was all over and i was pissed cos i loved their sound and there are traces of it in this album but this album is much... Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2007 by daniel
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid album
The most I've enjoyed an album created by anyone with the surname of Hartnoll since... oooh... The Middle of Nowhere (which I consider to be the last good Orbital album - not that... Read more
Published on 26 July 2007 by Mr. R. P. England
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow
I had extremely high expectations of this CD. Patchwork Guilt and Simple Sounds. Pure genius!
Published on 24 July 2007 by NYU
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality!
A lot of mixed reviews here, and yes we all Know the Orbital story.
For me Orbital always meant quality, and emotion, and for me this has it. Read more
Published on 21 July 2007 by AndyBaby
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