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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent way to bow out
I'll keep it simple; there are few (if any) electronic bands that have been at the top of their game as long as Orbital, and have decided to close the curtains on their career after 15 glorious years with the excellent Blue Album.
As with every Orbital album though, there is the odd clanger (Bath Time, Easy Serv), but the good FAR outweighs the bad on the Blue Album,...
Published on 26 May 2004 by spiralmuzik

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Farewell to the Beats
This final album from Orbital is certainly no Altogether, but still fails to reach the same heights as In sides and the Brown Album. It lacks the inspiration, depth, and consistancy of the two classic dance albums, that represent Orbital at the height of their long career. Orbital set a high standard when they released In sides, eight tracks that take you on a journey,...
Published on 29 Jun. 2004 by A. Futcher


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent way to bow out, 26 May 2004
This review is from: Blue Album (Audio CD)
I'll keep it simple; there are few (if any) electronic bands that have been at the top of their game as long as Orbital, and have decided to close the curtains on their career after 15 glorious years with the excellent Blue Album.
As with every Orbital album though, there is the odd clanger (Bath Time, Easy Serv), but the good FAR outweighs the bad on the Blue Album, with the highlights including the paranoid 4/4 acid frenzy of 'Acid Pants', the classic-Orbital-sounding energy of 'You Lot' (featuring a marvellous philosophical rant courtesy of Chris Eccleston), the 6/8 classical splendour of album opener 'Transient', the lazy 'In Sides-esque' head music wonder of 'Lost', and the mother of all album enders with 'One Perfect Sunrise', which comes second only to the Brown Album's epic 'Halcyon'.
Overall, the Blue Album has a real 'thank god its all over' feel, which is understandable given the problems Phil & Paul had with London records had during the making of The Middle Of Nowhere and The Altogether, but this is not a bad thing, as the music is upbeat and really accessable. One of the great things about Orbital through the years is that they rarely sound like anyone else (except the odd New Order-ism, and other parts that remind you of Sasha, Something of a Paradox and FC Kahuna).
Save the two bum tracks, this album is as good as In Sides or The Brown Album. I really hope they will be back, but i'm also happy that they are leaving the dance/electro scene wth a quality album considering they have been a part of it for so long, when the usual case for a dying band is 'death by repetition'. Phil & Paul, We wish you well.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks guys, 22 Jun. 2004
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This review is from: Blue Album (Audio CD)
As a fan of Orbital from the 'Green' album to this, their final album as a duet, I was, to be quite honest, not expecting much. Over the past 2 albums, I felt that the Hartnoll's seemed to lose their way and focus on creating new sounds and experimenting with techniques... I was very pleasantly surprised! The Blue album is a total return to the stunning form of the boys' green and brown album. Sections of the backing tune to 'Acid Pants' is eerily reminiscent of 'Impact' and 'Lush (Euro Tunnel Disaster)' from the Brown album. The final track, 'One Perfect Sunrise', featuring Lisa Gerrard is a cross-genre collaboration that simply blew me away.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FAREWELL TO THE FANS, 22 Jun. 2004
By 
Mr. Gareth I. Davies "giddig" (Dudley, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Blue Album (Audio CD)
So, here it is, the lads last album. It's a bit of a "thank you" to the fans kind of deal. They have produced a great album with a return to their early sound but still retaining their perfected production values, sort of a refined rawness if you will. It's just ace really! Hints of their previous best bits but still with their own original flair. It's sad to think this is their last album together. I have enjoyed all of their work, even their recent, less highly regarded albums have still had many tracks/elements that made them worth listening to again and again, especially when compared to some of the dross churned out at the moment. I guess that's the trouble with being dance/rave pioneers. They created their own unique style, perfected/refined it, but then when they had near perfected it people complained they weren't as original as in the early days of rave/dance/electronica. I am sure their future solo projects will always have a hint of ORBITAL, however each brother ends up developing individually. Still, I will miss eagerly waiting for their next album. So long lads! [...]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Farewell album from the nicest guys in techno, 9 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Blue Album (Audio CD)
Orbital have not have been considered a cutting edge dance art for some time now. Once universally lauded as perhaps the most innovative electronic band of their genre, time caught up with them on their last album, The Altogether, which was panned by many critics as being a hastily concocted amalgam of throw away tracks and background sounds. The announcement that this offering, the Blue Album, was to be their last, seemed to confirm the suggestions that the band who were once brand leaders in the dance scene had run out of ideas.
Whilst it is not in the league of their mightiest productions such as In Sides and the Brown Album, it does though show a welcome return to some of the form that have made them arguably the finest ambassadors of techno of all time. Tracks such as Pants and Lost encompass a laid back brand of electronica, sounding jovial and moody respectively. You Lot has all the blend of darkness, sinisterness and euphoria that Orbital at their best became so adept at achieving. And to use a familiar sounding ethereal sounding female vocal on One Perfect Sunrise is a fitting end to the career of one of the true greats of dance music. Without major record label backing, The Blue Album may not gain the high chart place that most Orbital albums have, but their farewell performances this summer will remind Phil and Paul Hartnoll how respected and loved they are by their many fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What A Way To Go..They Will Be Missed., 18 Jun. 2004
By 
Mr. S. R. Dhain "shekhardhain" (leicester) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blue Album (Audio CD)
The brothers Hartnoll decide to bow out on this album, which as a long term fan, leaves me feeling a little bitter-sweet. The reason primarily being that I thought their "brown album" to "middle of nowhere" stuff was just in a outstanding class of their own. The strain obviously started to show on "the altogether", which was at best, average, and a kow-tow to their old record company, before they parted ways with them. However, this self-imprint release leaves me sadly wanting more(hence 4 stars), and makes me wonder why none of the tracks have the epic lengths of yore (none are even touching the 9 minute mark), which really made them stand out in terms of their electronic melding of genres, because sustaining ideas to sometimes 15-plus minutes takes a lot of nerve, and a lot of imaginative arranging (not to mention the techno suss).
"Transient", with it's 6/8 time sig, is a beautiful way in to the album, and most of the other tracks (especially "you lot" "lost" and "bath time")are top notch aural fodder. However, "acid pants",the sparks collaboration, with it's ill fitting sample-&-see approach is bad news, even with a tb303 (sounds like a few supernova patches)burbling away in the background. Perhaps "easy serv" is too easy listening for some, but it still works nonetheless. But "Bath Time" sounds suspiciously like it was written entirely using soft-synths and a laptop, because it lacks that "gut punch" in the lower register, whcih you get from analog synths (even virtual analogs sound a bit meatier), but it's a beautiful twist on the "twinkle twinkle little star" vibe (perhaps Phil Hartnol was listening to gershon kingsley's "music to moog by" at the time?..)
So,even with two slightly weak tracks, I listen to the album regularily for that "wow! I didn't quite get that the first time around" feeling. However, perhaps they are genuinely knackered or feel a need to grow out of the techno genre they once were at the forefront of,hence the shorter track lengths. Even though they will be sorely missed, I still feel they may JUST do another album of total epic classics, cause this really is VERY MOREISH, AND HENCE ADDICTIVE, like a bag of favourite sweets, which just doesn't go "far enough". Who knows, maybe that was their intention all along (notice the cd number of orbitalcd001 )..what a tease..

Let's hope the brothers don't walk away from the genre forever..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Farewell to the Beats, 29 Jun. 2004
By 
A. Futcher "Lucid Day Dreamer" (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blue Album (Audio CD)
This final album from Orbital is certainly no Altogether, but still fails to reach the same heights as In sides and the Brown Album. It lacks the inspiration, depth, and consistancy of the two classic dance albums, that represent Orbital at the height of their long career. Orbital set a high standard when they released In sides, eight tracks that take you on a journey, inspire the imagination and leave you wanting more.
The Blue Album gets off to a promising start, the first five tracks won't leave you disappointed, even if the track names leave you wondering if you will be able to take them seriously. The plot seems to get lost after track five, the next three tracks left me almost cringing, and asking,'is this really Orbital?' All is not lost however, the final track, 'One Perfect Sunrise', best described as Gladitor remixed, is a great way to bow out.
SUMMARY: No classics like the quality tracks that are 'The Box, 'Dwr Budr', and 'Halcyon + On + On' on show, but still a must for true Orbital fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Typical Orbital - total genius & annoying novelty, 26 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Blue Album (Audio CD)
Nowhere near as bad as the 'reviewer' who gave one star makes out (btw I'm eagerly awaiting your first record, bud). It's typically frustrating Orbital - some gorgeous tracks & gorgeous moments that only they could make, then some absolute trash that threaten to spoil it all. The first 5 tracks work really well - v reminiscent of In Sides. Then the concern sets in - Bath Time is so weak and Acid Pants is just horrible. Easy Serv is Bath Time's irrelevant twin and One Perfect Sunrise is, well, OK but with so much potential.
Orbital have always suffered from a 'novelty' aspect to some of their music, almost as if they wrote certain tracks just to show they've got a sense of humour, that electronic music isn't completely serious (which I don't think anyone with a clue has ever thought), etc, etc. What they didn't realise is that they didn't need to do that because they were always so much better.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but nowhere near Orbital's best, 7 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Blue Album (Audio CD)
The main reason I bought this album was because I like Orbital; the fact that it was being touted as the Hartnoll brothers final album was secondary and I was eager to see if they'd recovered from the decidedly lacklustre 'Altogether'.
They have. Sort of.
If I could describe the Blue Album in one word, it would probably be 'inconsistent'. Whereas a lot of the tracks on their previous albums seemed to flow into one another, this one seems rather disjointed. Jarring, almost.
There's a real mish-mash of styles, too - 'Pants' and 'You Lot' are closer to 'classic' Orbital, being real techno stompers and 'You Lot' in particular has an anthemic quality about it. At the other end of the spectrum we have the truly awful 'Acid Pants' which could easily give analogue synths a bad name, the marginally better 'Easy Serv' (elevator music, Sevenoaks style) and the truly bizarre 'Bath Time', which wouldn't have sounded out of place in a Commodore 64 game circa 1987. That said, the closing track 'One Perfect Sunrise' is an absolute belter and reminds me a bit of Halcyon+On+On
For any other band, this would be a fitting swansong but for Orbital it just seems, well, mediocre. Certainly, it's has nowhere near the same power or energy as the 'Brown Album' but it's a heck of a lot better than 'The Altogether'
One for the fans only, I suspect.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not the very best Album but still very good, 9 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Blue Album (Audio CD)
This was Orbital's last Album and, to my mind, a much stronger effort overall than the preceding 'Altogether'.

It was always going to be hard for P&P to match their four greatest works; The Brown Album, Snivilisation, In Sides and the Middle of No-Where, all of which I would recommend to the uninitiated before this. However this work still contains some fantastic tracks and would certainly get 5 stars be it not for a couple of let-downs along the way.

The Album starts with the excellent and moving 'Transient'. This track has a very somber feel and its slow, mournful and reflective pace and use of strings is indicative of the direction Paul Hartnoll was heading in and displays in his first solo work - The Ideal Condition. The track sets the mood for what is to come perfectly and would be a great opener for any album.

The strangely titled 'Pants' ups the pace sharpely and is instantly recognisable as Orbital. Its a song that grows with every listen. I love the slightly retro feel to it with its bleepy electo riffs and driving base. The track develops with gorgeous synth washes and and works excellently on the dance floor. 'Tunnel Vision' is like a bad trip. Its dark, broody and rocky, an unsettling listen. Divine!

Next up is 'Lost'. This is a slower paced tune and wonderfully atmospheric; haunting and beautiful. 'You Lot' has been mentioned by many as the best cut on the album and I can see why. The track has much of what Orbital have always done best, using their electronic sounds to critique the modern age but never too navel gazing to forget the fact this is dance music. On this occasion this vibe is enriched with a wonderful sample that gives the tune a context and an anthemic energy. This tune was an instant hit with the Orbital faithful on their farewell tour and went down brilliantly live.

'Bath time' took me a while to get into but now I really like it. Its a slower and certainly happier sounding than the earlier tracks and, for this reviewer, has a strange musical dimension to it. You (or I at least) can imagine the notes being played by a harpsichord in 18th Century France. This is no bad thing and I find this tune most innovative and enjoyable.

I can not understand the point of 'Acid Pants'. The vocal taken from the Sparks front man is repetative and annoying and the tune itself could give 303's a bad name. Its like a demo of a tune that with refinement could have been an interesting novelty but instead smacks of laziness. The Acid style riffs and loops just don't work with the vocal and what you get is a compromise between Europop, Punk, Pop and Acid and it fails to deliver for fans of these any genres. It is an utter mess. This is a great shame. One could simply 'skip' but a great strength of Orbital's best work is that the albums are great with continuous plays from beginning to end. They take you on a voyage. On that count this song ruins the album.

'Easy Serv' is both interesting and bland. Intersting because Orbital doing lift music is a novel idea (and this certainly is lift music). Bland because it doesn't go anywhere. At their peak Orbital would have twisted this concept in some way. Here they play it straight. The result is pleasant and inoffensive but also ever so slightly boring.

The final track is 'One Perfect Sunrise' and here Orbital fall victims to their own success. The track is beautiful and epic. It uses a gorgeous vocal from Lisa Gerrard which works really well. Had an unknown artist produced this album many would wax lyrical. The problem is Orbital have been here before with tracks like 'Halcyon' from the Brown Album and did it better.

Overall, I like this album. It is very very good in places but certain tracks let it down as a piece of work and as such it fails slightly in comparison to the incredibly high standards of their earlier works. If you're new to Orbital get any of the four albums I mentioned earlier. I would still certainly recommend this album but go for those first.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Swansong, 23 Jun. 2004
By 
Mr. R. Baker (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blue Album (Audio CD)
I'm sure all the other reviews you'll read will say "after the disappointing The Altogether, I wasn't expecting this to be good", and I, too, didn't have my hopes held too high, especially when the tracklist was released with titles such as "You Lot", "Bath Time" and "Pants", which all screamed of Altogether.
When I put the record in the CD player, I thought "this is make or break time". And, luckily, it was make. From the opening rumbles of Transient, to the track's climatic strings, I realised they were on to something. The rest of the album follows a more dancey direction, with Acid Pants and You Lot providing the typical Orbital stormers, whilst Tunnel Vision, Lost and Pants see the brothers play on their slightly subtler, moodier side. Not all is moody here, however, with Bath Time's lullaby and Easy Serv's muzak adding a light hearted side, whilst sounding focussed as opposed to the cheap, novelty nature of the previous album.
The record closes on One Perfect Sunrise, another title I immediately disliked but a track I immediately liked. A soaring epic, both uplifting and beautiful, with layers of female vocals and pad synths that are very much Orbital's staple sound.
Sure, it's not as cutting edge as any of the Warp artists tend to be these days, but it's a damn excellent album, and I'd say it comes a close third to Brown and In Sides in the band's catalogue. It's both a shame that this is their last, and also a relief that they're going out on such a high note.
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Blue Album by Orbital (Audio CD - 2004)
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