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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 14 May 2007
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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on 4 July 2007
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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on 14 June 2007
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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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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on 10 July 2007
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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on 8 June 2007
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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on 21 July 2007
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.
I agree with the other review about getting a good pair of speakers, or headphones to listen to it on, just the same with any of the Orbital tunes, Its an experience. And a very nice one!
A mix of nice melodies, Orchestra, and lyrics.
As for the review comparing it to Moby, who I have nothing against, Did a good job on " Speed Freak " for a start, Open your mind mate, or stick to Helter Skelter.
I would recomend this cd.
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on 11 June 2007
In response to Mr. Stuart, I agree that the album is very good and leaves you wanting more, but that is a good thing; rather than have a lot of pointless plodding. I did come up with a solution to the time problem by adding "Transient" and the B-side of the "Please" single with the album( own copy which I bought). It makes a rather interesting compilation; "Transient" from the blue album is a definitive foreshadowing of the style of this album, and works rather well as an opener. Anxiously awaiting the Glasto Orbital CD/DVD package....that's sure to electro-rock..
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on 23 September 2008
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.
It's quite mellow and most tracks have vocals. There's only one track that I sometimes skip, all the rest are excellent, some of them really beautiful. It's not Orbital, there's only one track that sounds a bit like the Orbital of old, but that's not a bad thing.
My only complaint (a minor one) is that there are only 9 tracks and it's only 40 minutes long.
Track 1 is "Haven't We Met Before?" and is a beautiful electronic track with lots of orchestral atmosphere.
Track 2 is "For Silence" and is a lovely vocal track with soaring strings, my favourite vocal track on the album.
Track 7 is "Patchwork Guilt" and is the hardest and most Orbital-like track on here.
Have a listen to previews of the three tracks above - if you don't like any of them you probably shouldn't be buying the album.
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VINE VOICEon 17 July 2008
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, they headed off in different directions.- this was a REAL SURPRISE for me. I read the inlay notes and was expecting a load of live orchestration without beats, but....UNBELIEVABLE is the only word that struck me.

The acid test for me is always the "jaw drop" moment, and maybe knowing that orbital as an entity probably wont ever exist again, 30 seconds into the first track, i sat there with my mouth open like a child.

I have to agree with one other reviewer here, in that it almost seems to be better than anything orbital have ever released. There are many moments here which really hit my soul and get me goosey. Like the first track, the last one, patchwork.... In fact the whole album. Even IGGRO which initially seems to jar, fits in with the modus operandi of the album. In fact, i sequence my own compositional works the same way when giving them to dj's and for soundtrack work etc; the idea is the listener WONT WANT TO take it off UNTIL ITS FINISHED :-D

A tremendous achievement and such a welcome and refreshing mixture of relief, amazement, and respect. I'd love to work with paul hartnoll..
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