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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experimental, upbeat� But with a wonderfully dark edge
If, like some of the initial reviewers, I would've based my review on my first listen then my award perhaps have been only two or three stars. I've been a fan of the brothers for many years now and there have been many times when I've heard some of their new tracks and been amazingly under-whelmed thinking "what have they done?!" But that's just it; it's what *they've...
Published on 12 May 2001 by Mr I A Collinson

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed reception...
Like many of the other reviewees here I was a little disappointed with this album after my first couple of listens. However I remember saying that of Snivilisation and that has become de rigeur falling to sleep music (God help you if you wake up again during the "Technology..." bit though!) Hopefully The Altogether will be another grower.
"In...
Published on 5 May 2001


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experimental, upbeat� But with a wonderfully dark edge, 12 May 2001
By 
Mr I A Collinson (East Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Altogether (Audio CD)
If, like some of the initial reviewers, I would've based my review on my first listen then my award perhaps have been only two or three stars. I've been a fan of the brothers for many years now and there have been many times when I've heard some of their new tracks and been amazingly under-whelmed thinking "what have they done?!" But that's just it; it's what *they've done*! It may seem a very abrasive album, not as accessible as their previous works, but give this album a few spins and it'll hook you. Yet again the Hartnol brothers have created a sleeper album, another classic that'll pass the general record-buying public, but reward those with perseverance with a varied and unashamedly experimental sound.
'Tension' launches straight into a wicked breakbeat mesh - harsh beats but full of rhythm.
'Funny Break [One's Enough]' couldn't be more of a contrast. From the energy-release of the preceding track to another trademark emotive set of melodies. Classic Orbital.
'Oi!' is yet another change of gear, moving into Ian Dury-sampling funk. It reminds me of elements of their album 'Snivilisation' yet at the same time it's something completely fresh.
'Pay Per View' is one of my favourite tracks from the album, very dark and haunting. What becomes clear by this part of the album is that there isn't really a common 'theme' as such to this album, unlike 'In Sides' (my personal favourite). They're rather like different snapshots.
'Tootled' is, as one of my friends described, "a total rock-chick of a track". It's an average Orbital track, it feels somewhat restrained, perhaps is the poor relation to 'Tension' only the breakdowns towards at the end give it a notable Hartnol edge.
'Last Thing' contrasts yet again; squelching acid breakbeats tinged with a somewhat eastern flavour.
'Doctor?' is set to become a classic. Orbital have produced a stunning re-working of the classic BBC theme. It's a homage that manages to stay true to the original theme yet becomes something that's perfectly danceable.
'Shadows' is my other slight disappointment on the album. It's another dark and atmospheric track, but one whose shuffling melody and vocals just don't seem to take off with the usual magic. Intriguing Tom Baker sampling though.
'Waving Not Drowning' kicks off the closing triumvirate of more, as the cliché goes, 'classic Orbital'. This track is another of my favourites, something completely new and very endearing. Definitely one for midnight driving.
Some of the response to the David Gray collaboration 'Illuminate' however has really surprised me. This track is another highlight on the album. Some accuse the Hartnoll's of selling out with this comparatively assessable 'mainstream' track - but those who know their Orbital will know that David Gray has been a close friend and relation of the band for some time. It'd be the perfect choice for a single, in my opinion. Gray's voice may be grating to some, but I find it accompanies the melancholic track perfectly - the result a very rare and moving full-vocal Orbital track.
Unlike the other varied and short tracks the closure of the album 'Meltdown' is a return to Orbital's perhaps more natural 'long play' territory clocking in at over ten minutes. A very deep and dark that's as epic as the tracks which closed 'In Sides' and 'The Middle of Nowhere'.
I will admit that this release has disappointed me slightly, but to maintain such quality throughout six albums is a remarkable feat. It will disappoint some, but stick with it for a few listens are you are rewarded with something that's very fresh, but still with that trademark sound. It's a perfect tonic to the stifling, moronic 'pop' and so-called 'alternative' (yet cloned) pap that pollutes the commercial airwaves these days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed reception..., 5 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Altogether (Audio CD)
Like many of the other reviewees here I was a little disappointed with this album after my first couple of listens. However I remember saying that of Snivilisation and that has become de rigeur falling to sleep music (God help you if you wake up again during the "Technology..." bit though!) Hopefully The Altogether will be another grower.
"In Sides" was an album that had it all, long immersive techno songs that had playability and longevity. After a long break I didn't expect much of Middle of Nowhere when I bought it but was blown away by the first track which took me straight back to the complexity of "In sides". The Altogether just doesn't seem to deliver the same kick, I mean it is more a collection of songs than an album if you catch my drift. Whereas the others seemed to fit together as cohesive units (did anyone ever really need a track list?) this one is the least "Altoghther" of the lot.
Oh and I imagine I'm going to be in the minority for this, but doesn't anyone think that the Dr ? song is a bit like The Saint i.e. a B-side at best and actually quite annoying and distracting in the middle of an album. Talking of which the remixes of Funny Break are actually worth the price of the CD-singles (as is the Beetlebum track!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LUSH, 2 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Altogether (Audio CD)
I do find it quite strange that a lot of Orbital fans have rebelled against this record. 'Snivilisation' was blessed with Celtic vocals, floaty melodies and an underlying eco-awareness message. 'Middle of Nowhere' in contrast, was bouncy, lively and incredibly catchy. 'The Altogether' seems to be a natural progression that is a little cheeky at times ('Doctor?') but essentially jam packed with clever hooks and surprisingly harsh beats ('Tension').
Perhaps the presence of David Gray on 'Illuminate' is a bit annoying but the electro-mosaic beats goes some way in redeeming this. 'Pay Per View' is the slowest track on the record and it's a sexy dirty tune and an ideal soundtrack to a weekend in Amsterdam (not that I'd know!). It doesn't need to be said but Funny Break is infectious whilst 'Last Thing' is typical classic Orbital with catchy melodies and demonic drumbeats combined ingeniously. 'Tension' sounds like a remixed version of P.E.T.R.O.L and 'Oi' is reminiscent of early Adamski stuff, which is nice. I am still confused to why people have taken such a dislike to a record that brims with confidence, innovation and talent.
I agree that it may lack the seamless production of 'Middle of Nowhere' but this isn't anything other than what Orbital have done in the past. Like most Orbital albums, you can't expect to boogie down to it immediately. You really have to absorb it and let it grow within you and when you do, it's an amazing journey through melodic sounds, mesmerising beats and celestial synths. Trust me and more importantly, trust the genius and experience of the Hartnoll Brothers, this is good stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Bit Of Same Old, Same Old...., 12 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Altogether (Audio CD)
Right... i love Orbital as much as the next man, but i feel they've been in danger of sounding a little too much like themselves lately. I can hear people shouting, "But there's singing on it!" And...? I like this album, but there's nothing, in my opinion that matches classic tunes like the majestic "The Girl With The Sun In Her Head", the frightening "Impact", or the plain fantastic "Halcyon". I'm not stuck in the past, i just remember hearing these tunes and thinking they sounded like nothing else on earth. I remember hearing "Are We Here?" at their first Glastonbury show. It sounded like the world was gonna end. I think this problem started with "The Middle Of Nowhere". Again, a fine album. It just sounds a bit too much like Orbital for it's own good. I make an exception for "Funny Break". It is beautiful. Full stop. As i said, i like this album. I just wanna hear something a bit more forward looking next time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up to the Hartnoll kids, 3 May 2001
This review is from: The Altogether (Audio CD)
Yep, this is pretty cool. Orbital have spawned a rather wide variety of followers, who all admire the band for their various styles and 'BPM' fluxations. I can see where the mixed opinion has come from for this album, it's got something for everyone but it's not gonna satisfy most people fully. Whereas previous albums have usually remained with a single mood all the way through, 'The Altogether' hops all over the place with more 'sinister' tracks than usual, it even includes a vocal track with David Gray (didn't work for 808' and Berny Sumner, doesn't work here - sorry David!). Anyway this is Orbital like I remember way back with the original 'Satan' and I can't help but love it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Altogether Stylish, 9 May 2001
This review is from: The Altogether (Audio CD)
A new orbital album being released is for me the highlight of my year. Being the only group for years who have captivated me enough to consider myself an avid fan, the boys are back and for me not a moment too soon.
The thing is, who else produces a sound and style of music like this apart from the hartnoll bros and I know people already consider this album a mixed bag of tricks and some die hard fans are not keen on some of the tracks (wake up, stop living in the brown album era) especially Illuminate with David grey but after listening to it a few times you realise that the album is a crossroads for them, a testing ground. After Green and Brown came Snivalisation which changed there direction as they hard acid overtones of the first two slip into the spaced out Insides. So after Insides and Middle of nowhere it is logical to have another album that will change their direction again. Like all good groups that last, the music they create grows and matures with each album to match the times. (Chime may be a classic but I doubt it would be in the charts today) The Altogether like snivilization sounds like another stage in the Orbital evolution process.
Tension is a stormin', bass pumpin, mad drums being beaten to death sort of track that will make wanna dance like a loon, think satan in a bad mood. Funny break follows and while I was disappointed when I first heard it, put it on straight after listening to Middle of Nowhere and it all becomes obvious as a link between the two albums and a step in progression of there sound. Oi, Pay per View and Last thing thing are all tracks with Orbitals trademark sounds and drums but seem less busy than Middle of Nowhere. Logical for them as it nows gives them chance to take there music in a different direction which starts to happen in the latter end of the album. Waving not Drowning is in my opinion is quite brillant sounding like a 60's guitar sampled acid party with strong does of happy hammond throw in. Yes it is almost cheesy in it's exagerated optimism but wait until your listening to it in the garden this summer after a few beers. Illuminate is the other track that really stands out. Although some people don't like it, I think that track could be the start of some very interesting music on the next album as making instrumental for so long must get slightly boring (samples of female vocals don't count) With a little more developement this could open up a whole new angle on their sound.
But as always the last track kicks ass and reminds you just who you are dealing with before drifting off and leaving you with that bitter taste in your mouth that lasts until the next album comes out The one thing that has annoyed me about the Altogether is the inclusion of Docter ?. I can see why the brothers never released it on a album before, whilst it is one of the best live, it seems to lose it's intensity on cd. Whether this is because it has been around for a bit and I wanted more new stuff on the album but it doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the tracks, even with them being quite different in there own right. Beware though, it will take a while for some tracks to "filter through yer 'ead" but as with all the great music that will still be listened to in years to come, the hooks are deep baby yea!.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Orbital stuck in traffic on the M25?, 1 May 2001
This review is from: The Altogether (Audio CD)
Another Orbital album used to be reason enough to take a good look at your cd collection and decide that maybe some of those obscure techno records you cherished weren`t that great after all. However after last years slightly dissapointing "Middle of Nowhere" the Hartnoll brothers needed to deliver with this one. Starting off with `Tension` expectations are high - a rocket fuelled track with a hilarious/genius vocal loop that is sure to go down well live.After this aural bashing the melancholic strains of `funny break` yet again show Orbital have few peers when fusing sensual female vocal loops to melodic electronica. The Ian Dury sampled `Oi!`- late eighties house anyone? - sees the brothers stamp their own unique style on the blueprint and come up smiling.At this point it is clear that this album isn`t going to be the usual Hartnoll fare, and is all the more refreshing for it. `Tootled` takes some loops from experimental rockers Tool and welds them to a dark morphing bassline to stunning effect.`Pay per view` uses a sleazy 70`s bass and porn samples as its source and is transformed into something quite beautiful.Five tracks in and already i can see my C.D player gearing up for a long term relationship with this album.Unfortunately after the initial fun,things take a bit of a nosedive. `Last thing` - while containing all the classic elements you associate with Orbital never quite takes off the way it should,`Dr Who`is a great reworking but still feels a bit throwaway in context of the album -Why didn`t they release it as a B-side? `Shadows` sounds a like a half finished idea - maybe a reject from `the box` CD single.Illuminate feat. David Gray strives to be moving - but only succeded in nearly moving the contents of my stomach.`Waving not Drowning` rectifies matters somewhat if only by having the balls to sound ridiculously happy and without a care in the world. Which leaves us with `Meltdown` - if ever a track was needed to salvage a patchy album this has to be it.From the opening of breaking glass to its final moments this really is classic Orbital-inventive spine tingling music that deserves to rest next to classics like `the box`,`halcyon+on` and `belfast`. So after a great start this is a bit of a mixed bag - Maybe being the greatest live act around will ensure the Hartnolls will have a few more attempts at getting it right again on record.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Hartnoll Brothers return in style, 1 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Altogether (Audio CD)
At last, the long wait is over. After the spectaular 1999 album 'Middle of Nowhere' Orbital are back with this stunning follow-up. If you are familiar with the Hartnoll Brother's work then you will have a vague idea of what to expect, yet there are many surprises on this LP, some fantastic, others less so. When you first begin the listening journey of 'The Altogether' you will have mixed feelings, confusion will be the first as the harsh electro-bleepings and strange noises of the opening track 'Tension' will have you wondering what you have just purchased as it is painful listening an is the low point of the album, but when track two comes on you will automatically know you have purchaced a piece of pure chilled-breakbeat genius as 'Funny Break (One Is Enough)' is a fantastic piece of music and will leave you feeling both relaxed and impressed at the same time. Track 3, 'Oi!' is a pleasant enough song with some strange samples courtesy of Ian Dury's 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick' of all things. Other contributors to this album include David Grey, US Metal band 'Tool', and Steve Ignorant of Punk band 'Crass'. Without needlessly going through all the other tracks on the album I'll mention some of the other main highlights of this LP include 'Last Thing', with it's electro breaks and pounding bass sounds sounds alot like tracks by breakbeat artists such as Rennie Pilgrem and T-Power. 'Doctor?' is the supurb Doctor Who theme tune remix, always played at Orbital's Live shows but never available on cd, until now, and is worth purchasing for this alone (I know many dedicated Orbital fans who will do just that). After all this you will have come to the obvious conclusion that I was impressed with this album, and you'd be right. It's an excellent addition to Orbital's growing Discography and makes for highly intelligent, sometimes relaxing, sometimes confusing, yet always somehow brilliant. I can conclude that if you are not familiar with Orbital's work then this album is exactly what you need to enlighten yourself, and also an excellent introduction to electro-breakbeat music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag by Orbital's standards, but still fantastic., 8 Jun 2001
This review is from: The Altogether (Audio CD)
Coming off the back of the storming bass monster that was 'The Middle Of Nowhere', the latest release from the most inventive brothers of dance could be viewed as a dumbing down of the Orbital style. Whether it was their choice or not to go with the 4 and a half minute song format that they have for so long avoided, the decision was not a welcome one. Until I saw them live this May at the Apollo I had my doubts as to whether any of these songs would work live at all (ignoring Dr. Who of course), but all my fears have now been quashed and I have re-approached the album with enthusiasm. I still feel that this more 'traditional' song format has crippled the album to some extent - it is certainly not the beautiful cohesive unit that is the 'Brown Album' of 'Middle of Nowhere', but there is still enough good material here to get excited about. 'Tension' is quite simply the best headbanging song EVER, the inclusion of a Dr. Who mix is long overdue and very welcome surprise, and 'Meltdown' is reminiscent of 'Snivilisation' type excellence. I just cannot get into the woeful pairing of 'Waving Not Drowning' and 'Illuminate' - I don't think either David Gray or Orbital come off any better for the latter track. Call me nostalgic, but I just prefer the older stuff such as Halcyon, Satan and Chime - and I also believe that Phil and Paul are capable of reproducing this sort of excellence and still be progressive and inventive. Here's hoping for the next album lads.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What is everyone's problem? MAJESTIC STUFF!, 29 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Altogether (Audio CD)
How can any dedicated Orbital fan say anything bad about this album? It is not designed to be a "return to form/Brown/Insides", as some people have complained. It is meant to be another new direction for the lads, and in my view, they have pulled it off in incredible style. If you follow their albums, you will see that each one has its own sound- they are all different. This time, as they correctly point out, they have gone for a "fun" theme- "an LP to listen to with your mates". Each track has its own individual strong points, and there are a whole host of different feelings and emotions as the album progresses, without going too deeply into them as with InSides. So what if David Gray is on the album? Its still a good track- he does not ruin it at all. "Pay Per View" is a definite hark back to the Brown/Diversions days, as is "Shadows", to some degree, so i dont see why people are acting as if Paul and Phil have forgotten what the hardcore fans like. And, on the most basic level, all of the tracks, bar none, are funky and fun to listen to. For its excellent listenability and lifespan (i bought this on day one and still listen to it more than anything), i can easily award this five stars, and maybe even say that on some days this is my favourite Orbital album. It belongs in EVERYONE's collection.
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