jetpack technology

Sunday, June 03, 2007

well I've listened to the Paul Hartnoll album a few times tonight. In case you didn't know, he's one half of my all-time fave band Orbital so it was extremely exciting to have a whole new album of similar stuff to listen to. Having said all that, my verdict at this stage is that it's pretty disappointing. Most of the tracks are orchestral with a bit of electronics thrown in and it doesn't really work in my opinion. The electronic bits are fine but the arrangements of the orchestra sound kind of crude and predictable to me, as if it was written on a keyboard then someone simply printed out a score and got some classical musicians to perform it - which doesn't always translate successfully I suspect - the opening track is probably the most successful. It's a shame because some of the musical ideas are nice and would make great electronic tracks, but adding a few orchestral flourishes doesn't make it sound like fully-fledged orchestral music (there's an artist called Craig Armstrong who's had quite a bit of succees making similarly clunky orchestral music - I can't stand his either). There are a few songs with guest vocalists, one with Robert Smith of the Cure which is not very inspiring, and a few ballads which are kind of syrupy and over-egged but I guess having hired a whole orchestra and choir you have to use what you recorded rather than scrap it all and waste all that time and money. There's another spiky little song with vocals called aggro for which I had high hopes, but it's an incredibly dreary and tuneless dirge - nice production, just no tune that's of any interest... ho hum. It's a shame because bits of the album work well, and it's a nice idea to develop the more sophisticated composition of Orbital into something more classical but sadly the whole thing falls short in my opinion (but then I am hypercritical as you probably know). The must-have tracks are "patchwork guilt" and it's b-side on the single called "gloopy" both are excellent tracks which could easily be on an orbital album. The "whip remix" of the Robert Smith song manages to salvage it justabout and there's another b-side on that single (cd only) called "old school tie" which is worth having. If you stick those on the same album you probably have just enough good tracks to make a satisfying listen. If you actually read this far then you're probably one of a very few! (if you want some more orbital-ish stuff then you must check out which way now on the Longrange (aka phil hartnoll) myspace page)

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