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3.6 out of 5 stars104
3.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 14 October 2010
Although I listened to The Orb's Live album many many years ago and got my hands on the Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells singles remixed by The Orb I have not listened to much of The Orb's music. OK' Fluffy Little Clouds is superb, but from the amount of tracks I have heard I really cannot say that much about how this album rates amonst The Orb's output.
I have very recently returned from Ibiza after a totally "More" inspired holiday - not the drugs but I had the Floyd lp on my mp3. Whilst shopping in the town of Ibiza I could not help but hear techno. In one shop I enquired as to each type of music I was enjoying, was it Techno Ambient? No, the answer - Techno Minimal. So now I have a new musical term. And guess what, just by chance this album is Techno Minimal ( I think or should that be "I dink"?).
By watching the video supplied to Amazon one can get the feel of David's guitar playing. Minimal notes. minimal effort (for an axe god) but maximum mood setting. Reviews in the press liken this guitar work to Echoes or Shine On... well, yes and no. The soundscapes here are lush. Very suited to over dubbing the Landscape Channel on Sky 205 or playing with Winamp visuals.
The 3D cd must be played through headphones to get the full effect. In much the same way as The Final Cut and The Pros & Cons of Hitchhiking with their holophonics recording method.
David does rock out a little on track 2 in the style of Echoes but it is soooo well hidden. Cluster One and Signs of Life also come to mind as to types of playing found here.
So I am loving this chillout album and possibly this is where The Floyd could have gone post Wish You Were Here. On the quieter side I also listen to Jarre, Oldfield and Brian Eno so just to give you an idea this album sounds nothing like any of their outputs. But you could find shades here of Ummagumma, The Division Bell, Meddle etc.
Metallic Spheres has a duration of about 50 mins (per disc) but it designed to be looped over and over.
Thanx for reading.
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on 21 October 2010
I decided to ignore the mixed reviews and downloaded this album (albeit at [...] - bah!) because like a lot of the other reviewers, I'm a fan of The Orb and the Floyd/Dave Gilmour. I'm so glad I trusted my instincts because it has become essential listening for me whether in the gym, out running, driving in the car, lazing in the bath or belting out of my speakers in the front room. Time invested in listening to this album just glides by and it is everything I hoped for. There is Dave Gilmour strumming away and all those clever musical Orb hooks to keep my attention - it really is superb.

As fans of both artists know, their material needs to be listened to as a whole album and played all the way through to best enjoy it. I played Spheres 4 times in a row after my first listen which is usually the sign of something new becoming one of my favourite albums. Spheres is well worth your time and the cost of a download.
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on 13 October 2010
This album has David Gilmour stamped all over it and quite a wonderful creation it is. More trippy than ambient, this collaboration is more than just the sum of it constituent parts. It plays to the strengths of all the collaborators and the finished article is a rich, immersive experience. Indeed, the "3D60" version is mixed specifically for headphone use to mimic a surround sound environment.Through a set of good earphones, the music plays through much more sharply and the arrangement of tracks is changed to make the overall effect of a very different album. When the sleeve says 'bonus disc', it actually means what is says on the tin.

If you are a fan of The Orb and Pink Floyd, you are in for a treat.

Just as an aside, all artist royalties from this album will be contributed to the support of Gary McKinnon, the man the US wants to put on trial for hacking the Pentagon. You would have thought that someone that smart would be offered a job and taken very good care of wouldn't you?

So to my mind, a very worthwhile cause.
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There can be little doubt that this is a slick and somewhat ruthless exercise in marketing. The large sticker to the front of the packaging with 'Dark side' colouring,(triangle included), and a 'wall' like signature hopes to grab the eye of any passing Floyd fan, (although fans of Floyds earlier work may well have a bone to pick with the claim that Gilmour is 'the voice of Pink Floyd'),.
So is this just a rip off? Well at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking it was. After all there's the idea of there being just 2 tracks but really it's 5 tracks flowing into one another. Then there's the 'should I get the 1 disc or 2 disc?' question.
To start with the most important thing is the music itself. There is definitely a strong 'Dark side' vibe throughout but in fairness that was and still is an amazing album so I have no problem with a little nod in it's direction. However this is not just some lame 're-interpretation but has it's own very unique and laid back approach. There are all sorts of effects thrown in here from voices to banging on various objects but what is always constant is Gilmours flowing guitar that underpins everything and a synth line that changes often but constantly gives everything a musical foundation and never lets this all drift off into some avant garde pointless noise. This remains musical throughout and although the guitar playing is nearly always subdued it is what provides the musical hook which the listener is brought back to as it drifts around the mix. Musically for me this whole project is surprisingly effective and is very easy to return to. There is always something new to hear and it provides a refreshing addition to the whole Ambient catalogue.
Needless to say production values are spot on and go a long way to making this such a successful release.
So what of the 2 disc release? Well you'd be forgiven for thinking you get a re-mixed 2nd disc that offers a completely different album for your extra 3 quid. What you actually get may be remixed but it's exactly the same as the main disc only it is presented in '3D60 Audio'. What this means is that when you play it through your headphones you get an effect as if the music and it's effects are moving around you 360 degrees. It would appear that this is still an impossible task but credit where it's due this is a fair attempt and it certainly opens the mix out so that everything pans out much further around the listener although it rarely feels is if sounds are behind you. An interesting and for me worthwhile 2nd disc that gives the album room to breathe and on occasion makes the listener jump as an effect opens up to one side or another.
Slick marketing and gimmicks aside this may not be the musical event of the decade but it is a nice album that mixes ambient with the undoubted guitar skills of Dave Gilmour to great effect. Musical and very enjoyable it is never dull and avoids being pretentious. Often a bare musical landscape but always fascinating.
All in all a worthwhile and welcome release and well worth getting in the 2 disc format.
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on 27 October 2010
Very good indeed - took a bit of listening to realise just how good this is - that is like all the really good music its a record you can just go back to time and time again and it never gets stale.
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on 16 October 2010
Well, after a couple of listens I have to say that this is more Floyd-esque than I was expecting. There's a contast theme running through this that reminds me of earlier Floyd stuff. This comes to mind on more than a couple of ocassions with familiar analogue synth sounds and gilmour's guitar, harking back early 70's Floyd when they were more experimental.

To summarise this is an execellent 'soundscape' type of album. One should not expect the regular format of songs with verse/chorus/verse etc. and for Floyd and Orb fans alike that shouldn't be an issue as we are kinda used to that anyway. I also found that this album left me craving for more Floyd and has spurred me on to dig out the old classics once again! Does it leave me wanting to delve into the Orb back catalogue? That I'm not sure of, yet.

Oh, and the 3D version is absolutely awesome on headphones and absolutely the best way to experience this interesting and successful collaboration. This album also rewards after repeated listening as there's always some new to discover.
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on 22 October 2010
On the one hand...

There are two tracks on this album. They are - A Sigh At The Gates Of Ennui, and Soporific On The Far Edge Of Snore. Actually they're not called that at all as that would take way too much effort, maaan. The tracks are actually imaginatively monikered "The Metallic Side" & "The Spheres Side", which must've taken some time to think up.
What do you get when a band famous for their innovations in ambient dub music some 20 years ago meet up with their hero, the least adventurous guitarist in the annals of prog? Answer - wibble to the nth degree. Firstly I should point out that this album is billed as The Orb featuring David Gilmour, not the other way round, so don't expect a Pink Floyd guitar wig out every five minutes. Dave's noodlings never get out of first gear and are no more than the kind of thing he used to do in the ambient bit of Echoes, plain dull. In fact anyone who has ever mastered two chords and has access to an array of effects pedals and sound manipulation software could have done this.
After a while of it's nigh on half an hour I expected the music on the first track to fade into a rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone viz-a-viz Fearless from Meddle. Actually that would have been quite funny.
After all these years the rhythm programs used by Dr Alex Paterson still rely heavily on repetitive Thump-Thump-Thump on the beat, which after 10 minutes gets very wearing. Sprinkled amongst the soundscapes are the trademark twitterings and warblings of Paterson's fauna from space, which is pleasant enough I suppose.
I don't think I'll be playing this again in a hurry.

2 out of 5

But on the other hand.....

Imagine lying on a deserted beach under the hot sun*, pina colada** in hand, as you drift away on a never ending wave of psychedelic ambience washing across your consciousness via the mp3 player. This album is the perfect companion for chilling out. David Gilmour's swathes of gentle ambient noodling drift in and out of Alex Paterson's cosmic soundscapes like flocks of starlings swooping across an azure sky....pure bliss.

* or, in a hammock on a hot day, or alone at night in a darkened room - ** or, rum'n'coke, beer of choice, you get the picture..

4 out of 5

Take your pick!
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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2010
As soon as I saw that this album was to be released I ordered it as I'm a fan of both Gilmour and of the Orb.
I have not been disappointed
Although the two pieces of music (both split into five pieces) don't really "go" anywhere they are both fine examples of what Gilmour and Dr Alex are about- although to be fair it will probably appeal more to Orb fans
If you get the two disc version you get differing versions of both tracks using 3060 audio - basically 3D sound mixed especially for headphones. Now I remember Edgar Froese experimenting with this in the 80s - "the Gunther Brunschen artificial head system" it was called then and to my ears Froese got it a bit more "right" than Youth has on this but there again it was a long time ago when my hearing was probably sharper !!
Whatever - this is a cracker of an album and should be bought by all who are interested in electronica or ambient music. Five stars without any doubt at all
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on 29 January 2011
The Orb featuring David Gilmour - Metallic Spheres (Columbia)
The Orb, or Alex Paterson as his Mum calls him, and David Gilmour first collaborated on a cover of Graham Nash's "Chicago" for a charity project. They obviously got on because producer Youth was invited to join them for Metallic Spheres, an album of two parts, and designed to be heard in just that way.

Part one, the "Metallic Side" and the second part, "Spheres Side", are both beat-heavy soundscapes - there are scattered vocals - with Gilmour's guitar, though treated and manipulated, recognizable throughout. The result can be compared most readily to the Eno / Fripp collaborations of the `70s, though neither of the pieces here can compare to the glacial majesty of "Heavenly Music Corporation", or even a "Swastika Girls", but it has its moments, often before the beats become overbearing. 6/10.
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on 1 November 2010
Having been a big fan of both The Orb and the distinguised Mr. Gilmour (Pink Floyd) for many years, this is a dream come true for me. The Orb's atmospheric soundscapes, interspersed with the distinct sound of David Gilmour's guitar - what more can you ask for? Reminds me somewhat of DSOTM and Meddle era Floyd. Highly recommended for both Orb and Gilmour/PF fans.
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