William Orbit - Hello Waveforms
Although probably most famous for his work on Madonna's "Ray of Light" album, William Orbit has been around for years, with a huge body of work behind him both as an artist and a producer. He has also worked with Blur on their radically different album "13", with the All Saints on "Pure Shores", and with U2 on "Electrical Storm". His last album, 2000's "Pieces in a Modern Style", took classical music and transformed it into a pulsing, electronic entity, earning him much acclaim.
This album sees a return to the dance/electronica genre, but with a sound more reminiscent of the past. Soft, subtle, and almost dreamlike in places, it brings to mind the work of people such as Steve Hillage (System 7), with a dash of Robert Fripp. Opening track "Sea Green" is Orbital-esque, a slow building piece of trance, layers of sound adding to the sense of atmosphere as the music bleeps and bloops in the background. "Humming Chorus" takes a step back to "Pieces in a Modern Style" - the music is taken from Madame Butterfly, and is an elegant piece of melody with simple piano.
Superbly titled "You Know Too Much About Flying Saucers" in a standout track, a marvellously inventive song full of effect and a shuffling backbeat. "Spiral" sees the appearance of The Sugababes of all people (not the new one though), and is ok, but really just sounds like a Sugababes track, all be it with a smoother sound.
"Who Owns the Octopus" is possibly the best song here, packed with sounds, never staying still, it is like a mini-album of melodies and ideas, building and building to an excellent climax. Also good is "Fragmosia", a old fashioned sci-fi tune, but less good is "Firebrand", which just meanders along for ages and never really does anything. Album closer "Colours From Nowhere" though is a treat, a great piece of trance music to watch clouds by.
This is a good album, which manages to match originality and retro charm with ease. There is not much to offer here for those not keen on trance or electronic music but, for those who are, much pleasure will be gained from this album.