― Ronan, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
Orbital have the "we're crazy soundscaping crazymen who have stood
the test of time" thing going on.
Leftfields new album (whenever) it comes better be better than
Orbitals last album "The Altogether" which was disappointing to me.
i'd prefer leftfield v underworld FITE
― Alan Trewartha, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― Omar, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
UNDERWORLD VERSUS LEFTFIELD VERSUS ORBITAL..................
Underworld is a harder group to
get a handle on. Their first and third albums are fantastic, but the
second is the textbook definition of "self-indulgent garbage". Also,
everyone goes gaga over a deeply inferior mix of "Born Slippy".
Still _Beacoup Fish_ was much better than _The Altogether_,
approaching _In Sides_ or _Snivilization_ quality (if it doesn't
reach it; I'm still torn). I have to go with Orbital because I think
the variance of the quality of their work is less, but Underworld is
definitely on the rise. (Actually, if they're officially kaput,
Underworld would be my vote for the "timely break-up" thread.)
― Dan Perry, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
Orbital by a KO, also sending one-trick ponies U/world out the ring
faster than they stumbled into it.
(apologies for boxing metaphor - too much Tyson on TV today)
― Jeff W, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
I can't decide either, I think perhaps I need to think further. Also
I think I have a tendency to overrate Leftfield. But I think if we
are comparing albums "Insides" is the best album any of the three
If we're comparing careers then I'm not too sure, I never listened to
Whereas Orbital are just excellent. Their first two/three albums may
sound just the tiniest bit obsolete in terms of sonics, but overall
they have the kind of elegant structure and perfect celestial grooves
that will make them listenable for years to come. Then
there's "Snivilisation," which is still so lovely to listen to,
and "In Sides," one of the best electronic albums of all time in my
humble opinion (especially when paired with the original 2nd disc,
which has the 28-minute version of "The Box") .... they've got all
that going for them, even if "The Middle of Nowhere" and "The
Altogether" were lackluster.
― Dare, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― jk, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― Vinnie, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― Ian, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― Mike Ratford, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
Also wasn't Leftism "THE ALBUM THAT BROUGHT DANCE OUT OF THE CLUBS
AND INTO THE LIVING ROOMS"?
I was young when it was released but that smacks of bullshit to me.
Not Heard Insides. Didn't like Sniv. or the Green One.
I am alone in this of course, but I really like the Altogether. After
MOW the last thing I wanted was an album with 10 minute 'epics'
again. The shorter stuff covers a lot of ground, not all well
executed, and some badly mixed IMHO, but a good effort. The Dr. Who
theme is fantastic - (yeah, yeah I KNOW it sounded better at
Glastonbury or wherever). I'll be back on why Leftism beats all, but
it's only ten minutes until Chelsea v Spurs and I have to *get
― Dr. C, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
SHEER INSANITY. This would be much more
In Sides > Brown = Snivilization = Beaucoup Fish >
dubnobass... > Middle Of Nowhere > Green = The Altogether > Second
Toughest > Rhythm and Stealth
This ranking should take into account
that I like every album listed up through _The Altogether_.
Way Out West seem to have quietly released two great albums and no
one's noticed. Why? (Search: The Gift, Domination, UB Devoid,
― Billy Dods, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― patrick, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
If Mike Ratford is thinking of the moment I think he's talking
about, then he is *so* right (in my opinion Middle Of
Nowhere is a much better take on "return to the clubs" than <
i>The Altogether). Another point appears about two-thirds of
the way through "Nothing Left 2", with one of the most heavenly
build-ups of any I can think of.
Leftfield's first album is overrated elsewhere but underrated
here. I most like the tracks that sort of sound out of character for
them - "Inspection (Check One)", "Original", "Open Up", the
quasi-jungle track (something 3000).
Orbital's jungle track ("Are We Here?") is better than Leftfield's or
Underworld's ("Pearl's Girl") but that's because "Are We Here?"
is one of the best things ever. Ever. As a whole Snivilisation
i> is really underrated in that no-one talks about it compared to
the albums on either side. But any album that has "Forever",
"Sad But True", "Crash & Carry", "Are We Here?" and "Attached"
is a work of godlike genius in my books. Another interesting
thing about Orbital: one of the few artists whose tracks are
almost always better the longer they are.
Second Toughest... isn't as bad as Dan paints it - yeah,
it's much less interesting than the first or third albums, but the
first two tracks at least are excellent, especially the second one (I
like the way Underworld occasionally veer from motorik-as-hell
techno to an almost blueslike shuffle quite easily).
― Tim, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― Dr. C, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― Clarke B., Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― chris, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
boring old farts. leftfield one half decent record with john lidon
and guiness ad tune an the rest u never listen 2. b honist. orbital
shit since insides. 40 yr old farts lisen to carington cogan on
radio 2 not in tune with anything. boring boring.
the prodigy piss all over all that lot. an basement jax piss over
prodigy unless latter get arse out of bed and record new shit.
chemical bros new record also shit. tel us somefin new.
― XStatic Peace, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
2nd toughest in the infants is an a-mazing record!
and people *do* talk about how good 'snivilisation' is.
underworld are still ace, orbital have gone MOR.
can't wait for underworld to return
with or without emmerson.
― piscesboy, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
Snivilisation: Tied in with their great 94/95 festival performances
this album confirmed that the vast majotiry involved in the exodus
were never going back to the grey land of grunge and it's ilk.
Insides: Not at the cutting edge anymore but still probably one of
the top 5 most beautiful home listening experiences of the last
decade. "Out There Somewhere" is beyond compare and the intro
to "The Girl With The Sun In Her Head" is incredibly poignant in an
Always hated Underworld's live shows - all those arms punching the
air for that was essentially turgid 4 to the floor techno. For many
they were just the token dance act. Hated the whole Loaded/Euro
96/Born Slippy allegiance. Enjoyed DubNoBass as it was a good sister
piece to the Brown album.
Leftism is very overrated. Very rockist but quite dated now.
― David Gunnip, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― Dan Perry, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― Marcello Carlin, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
Orbital are more fun, and more prolific, and now they're off into
film score land, maybe they'll find new sounds to play with -- i'm
glad they have the assurance and intuition to go with what they like.
i'll still follow
Leftfield. Leftism is getting a lot of bashing here. which
― Alan Trewartha, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
- "Born Slippy (original)":
Absolutely lovely. Nine minutes of breakbeats piling on top of each
other with wonderful synth arpeggios rising through each tone of a
harmonic minor scale, speeding up as they approached the high tonic,
mixed in with wonderful screamy synths and an overall adrenaline
haze.- "Born Slippy (NUXX)": Stream-of-consciousness ranting over
a fairly pedestrian beat that segues into a potentially nice trance
workout that ends before it really gets a chance to go
anywhere."Born Slippy (Telematic)" - A hybridization
of "original" and "NUXX"; a vocal-free trance workout that explores
some basic variations on a simple pattern.
I quite like both. After "Insides" I'd listen to either Leftfield
album, Beaucoup Fish or Everything Everything. I should probably buy
the other Underworld albums, I have heard them but don't own them.
― Ronan, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
I think every Underworld album is strong, though they do seem to
front-load their albums a bit, I think. The weaker stuff on
Underworld albums always seems to be near the end.
― patrick, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
― Vinnie, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
Counterexample: "Kittens" is near the end of _Beaucoup
I have to say fuck Leftfield. They were only ever a convenient
re-working of the dance scene with more familiar elements for dinner
party and TV sports show theme consumption. They've never done
anything that wasn't utterly generic to the time it was made, and as
such never produced anything as transcendent as Orbital.
Underworld are just boring techno with ranting over the top. They're
just the follow-on iteration to Finitribe. Gold Chains are the new
― jacob, Thursday, 21 February 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink
pretty, but no strong rhythmic backbone
― I Am Curious (Dolezal) (DJP), Monday, 14 September 2015 19:40 (one year ago) Permalink
let's set aside Snivilization and In Sides for a second; have you never heard "Satan"?????
― I Am Curious (Dolezal) (DJP), Monday, 14 September 2015 19:43 (one year ago) Permalink
Love the beat on 'I Wish I Had Duck Feet'
― nashwan, Monday, 14 September 2015 19:43 (one year ago) Permalink
Snivilisation/InSides are basically front to back incredible imo; earlier work very much excellent but not quite on that level
― Meta Forksclove-Liebeskind (forksclovetofu), Monday, 14 September 2015 19:47 (one year ago) Permalink
basically Orbital 2 -> The Middle of Nowhere is one of the best run of albums in anyone's discography
― I Am Curious (Dolezal) (DJP), Monday, 14 September 2015 19:51 (one year ago) Permalink
xp yeah those two work best as albums I think, the first two are both excellent but each is less of a coherent whole than the subsequent two
― Neil S, Monday, 14 September 2015 19:53 (one year ago) Permalink
xp it's up there with tom waits, prince and stevie as far as i'm concerned, yeah
― Meta Forksclove-Liebeskind (forksclovetofu), Monday, 14 September 2015 19:54 (one year ago) Permalink
xxp - definitely. don't listen to any comps or anything, just those 4 albums front-to-back. I think Wonky is about that good as well. Green is absolutely not a good place to start, though the singles are must-haves.
― frogbs, Monday, 14 September 2015 19:55 (one year ago) Permalink
I'm trying to figure out what Orbital songs you could possibly have encountered to form the impression that they have no strong rhythmic backbone
― I Am Curious (Dolezal) (DJP), Monday, 14 September 2015 20:09 (one year ago) Permalink
Cheapo box of the first 5 Orbital albums
― the top man in the language department (誤訳侮辱), Monday, 14 September 2015 20:12 (one year ago) Permalink
their albums probably deserve the full reissue treatment like Underworld, lots of good alternate versions, remixes, live tracks etc. to be brought together
― Neil S, Monday, 14 September 2015 20:40 (one year ago) Permalink
I just saw reissues for Green and Brown. Not sure if they're official or not. The sleeves have been redone and are kind of gross, so I assume they are official.
― brotherlovesdub, Monday, 14 September 2015 21:01 (one year ago) Permalink
This thread reminds me that after going gaga over it, I hadn't actually played anything off Wonky in years besides the title track and "New France". Rectifying that right now.
― I Am Curious (Dolezal) (DJP), Monday, 14 September 2015 21:14 (one year ago) Permalink
I think it's fair to say Orbital's music generally isn't particularly rhythmically showy or 'sick'. Mostly very straightforward, not even especially syncopated. Although that could be one definition of "solid". The breakbeat stuff on Snivilisation seemed sweet and naive compared to what was happening in Jungle a year or two previously.
― Noel Emits, Monday, 14 September 2015 21:26 (one year ago) Permalink
As someone currently on an Orbital listening binge, I can't find a single song of theirs that doesn't feature rhythmic and melodic syncopation from any point in their career.
― I Am Curious (Dolezal) (DJP), Monday, 14 September 2015 21:42 (one year ago) Permalink
Okay "Quality Seconds" doesn't have rhythmic syncopation in it but the entire melodic theme is a simple syncopated figure repeated for a minute; that is the first one I've found that isn't using syncopation in both the rhythm section and the melodic lines.
― I Am Curious (Dolezal) (DJP), Monday, 14 September 2015 21:45 (one year ago) Permalink
i revisited wonky recently! it rules so much
― insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Monday, 14 September 2015 21:52 (one year ago) Permalink
Not intended as a damning criticism, it's just what they do. Rhythmically I think it is mostly quite simple, and not what i'd call highly syncopated. There also isn't much variation in fills and turnarounds for instance. Not to say it isn't well done or appropriate.
― Noel Emits, Monday, 14 September 2015 21:58 (one year ago) Permalink
There's some insanity being talked about here re Orbital but I see DJP has already done my work in response and more comprehensively.
― Ned Raggett, Monday, 14 September 2015 22:11 (one year ago) Permalink
I'm not saying there's no beats just that the beats that are there seem like an afterthought compared to the pretty melodies
― the late great, Monday, 14 September 2015 22:54 (one year ago) Permalink
I actually half-addressed this over a decade ago upthread, but the idea that Orbital lacks a strong rhythmic backbone seems rooted in an assumption that melodic detail and rhythmic detail are in a zero sum game with one another. I think it's true that when one thinks of an archetypal Orbital track, typically it's the melodies that come to mind. In truth though the focus of their work isn't really on melody per se so much as the idea of interplay at all levels - melodic / textural / rhythmic.
So from one perspective what you don't typically get from an Orbital track is the minimalist intensity of really stripped down house and techno (or drum and bass, where the friction between just one or two elements (say, a beat and a riff) is writ large and dominates your sensory awareness. Orbital zoom back out to show you layer upon layer, and yeah the rhythm typically comprises only one or two of several, but to castigate them from that seems rather to miss the point - it strikes me as the equivalent of saying that a film with good acting is problematic because the good acting necessarily distracts from the cinematography somewhat.
My sense has always been that Orbital were mostly aware of this. Upthread ages ago I talked about "Are We Here" and how it sought to replicate the kind of melodic/textural interplay they're famous for almost solely at the rhythmic level by swiping ideas from jungle. What's interesting about this is the specificity of how they "get" jungle for this purpose: possibly a rip-off of A Guy Called Gerald, though impressively on-point if so - Gerald only struck on these ideas in 1993 with "Nazinji-Zaka" and "The Glok Track" and "Take Me", and along come Orbital with a slowed-down jazzsteppin-in-space take on same within 12 months. And kudos to them for realising how perfectly that approach fit their aesthetic, treating the breakbeat samples as the warp and weft just like they'd ordinarily treat arpeggios. And then that darkside moment which is like every Foul Play remix of 1993/1994 playing simultaneously.
Having done this, Orbital evidently never felt the need to try it again, but In Sides is quite remarkable for the casual intricacy of the rhythms and how they intersect and interact so fluidly with the melodic and textural motifs.
Middle of Nowhere is similar but perhaps more interesting to me for how Orbital superficially appear to retreat to more straightforward electro-tilted mid-pace techno rhythms, but actually across all the music in their discography the melodies and rhythms and textures never felt as completely and indivisibly intertwined as they do here, like on "Spare Parts Express" how the rhythm almost imperceptibly transforms from burbly electro to a kind of tom-heavy 'ardkore breakbeat when the tune goes all gothic organ darkside, then flips back for the coda. Or how on "Know Where To Run" they imagine rave emerging directly from Cabaret Voltaire and bypassing house altogether: scrungy industrial snares --> the breakdown with the single drum beat --> the rave-synth section with this almost Jamaican syncopated kick driving home the chord changes. Maybe best of all the sheer hyperactivity of "Nothing Left", like four Mad Mike Banks tracks playing simultaneously.
― Tim F, Monday, 14 September 2015 23:12 (one year ago) Permalink
No I think Vahid is right in a way, with the exception of the Brown album (which is totally the one you should start with), and a couple of obvious exceptions (Are We Here?, I Wish I Had Duck Feet), you don't often get a sense that the beat is the foundation stone of everything. Unlike a lot of techno you don't get a sense that they're starting with the beat and composing upward from there (even the drippier end of Kompakt is constructed like this), Orbital tracks are often anchored around a melodic hook and the job of the beats is to interweave with that. Even Chime is propelled by the synth chords, and it's also a case for the mid-period stuff, even things like The Girl With The Sun In Her Head that literally build from the beat up. The result of this is that they can often be rhythmically quite limber without the beats ever forming the main focus of the music.
Plaid works as a comparison in that regard, except they often used that resultant rhythmic freedom to do more with meter than most of their contemporaries (virtually everyone except Autechre).
The take-home from this thread is that no one cares about that boring new Leftfield album.
― Matt DC, Monday, 14 September 2015 23:14 (one year ago) Permalink
― Matt DC, Monday, 14 September 2015 23:16 (one year ago) Permalink
does this not sound just like early plaid?
good track, would be much improved by a booming think breaj
― the late great, Monday, 14 September 2015 23:21 (one year ago) Permalink
think break, not breaj
It does but in the way that a lot of c. 1992/1993 UK house did, I would have thought? I mean it's a lot like "Smokebelch II" in that regard, yeah?
― Tim F, Monday, 14 September 2015 23:28 (one year ago) Permalink
Half the good of 'Monday' is the rawness of the 909 being used in that 'breakier' way while slower than in most rave and techno stuff of the time.
― nashwan, Tuesday, 15 September 2015 12:08 (one year ago) Permalink
This isn't even a competition as far as I'm concerned: it's Orbital. Their second album alone urinates all over anything Leftfield have ever done from a huge height, and it's aged supremely well... and that's before we get to Snivilisation and In Sides.
― Turrican, Tuesday, 15 September 2015 12:17 (one year ago) Permalink
The one I've been playing a ton lately is Middle of Nowhere, and upon relistening to it you can really see why things went south for them after that, they threw everything they had at it. It's such a dense and intricately constructed album even if it's not as much as 'leap' as their last three. They do tons of stuff well but they really had the best hooks out of any of 'em, and when you listen to a track like "Spare Parts Express" it's almost as if they're showing off.
― frogbs, Tuesday, 15 September 2015 13:46 (one year ago) Permalink
I guess I'm going to have to pick up that orbital box set and educate myself
― the late great, Tuesday, 15 September 2015 22:30 (one year ago) Permalink
Leftism is one of the best albums ever
― Cosmic Slop, Tuesday, 15 September 2015 22:33 (one year ago) Permalink
The Blue Album is a nice return to form for them, and while some were not a fan of them embracing their older sound with a touch of nostalgia I loved it. Also the single "The Gun is Good" is probably one of the best things they've ever done, with the hilarious use of some Zardoz samples that makes for a perfectly oddball thing to drop in the middle of a set.
That said, In Sides and Snivilization are bonafide masterpieces. With Brown and Middle of Nowhere being really excellent bookends. Few bands of any genre can offer that, and most definitely Leftfield and Underworld can't.
― octobeard, Tuesday, 15 September 2015 23:01 (one year ago) Permalink
I'd put Underworld above Leftfield too!
― Turrican, Tuesday, 15 September 2015 23:11 (one year ago) Permalink
This is a dumb argument but I think Brown is a masterpiece or whatever, it's a perfect dance album. The next two moved further away from dance into (what became) more traditional home listening electronica. They are stupendous of course. But Brown is special for deploying their unique talents in such a straight-ahead raved-up way, rather than the cinematic approach of the next two.
― the most painstaking, humorless people in the world (lukas), Tuesday, 15 September 2015 23:11 (one year ago) Permalink
I understand what you mean, but I think that Orbital 2 is equally perfectly suited to "traditional home listening"
― Turrican, Tuesday, 15 September 2015 23:14 (one year ago) Permalink
yes of course
― the most painstaking, humorless people in the world (lukas), Tuesday, 15 September 2015 23:17 (one year ago) Permalink
That said, In Sides and Snivilization are bonafide masterpieces. With Brown and Middle of Nowhere being really excellent bookends. Few bands of any genre can offer that, and most definitely Leftfield and Underworld can't.
Disagree strongly on Underworld - I think every album they've done is brilliant, outside of perhaps A Hundred Days Off (and their early discs if you want to get technical). More than that they've got some of the best non-album material I've heard from any group - not just their most famous singles, but also deep gems like "Thing in a Book", "Oich Oich", "Parc", and a bunch of the Riverrun stuff. Their run from '93 to '99 is basically untouchable, IMO. I'd put Orbital over pretty much everything else, though.
― frogbs, Wednesday, 16 September 2015 01:55 (one year ago) Permalink
Some sort of Leftism announcement tomorrow.
― groovypanda, Sunday, 19 February 2017 20:59 (five months ago) Permalink
https://leftfieldsplash.comLeftism remaster 2CD and tour.
― StanM, Monday, 20 February 2017 09:12 (five months ago) Permalink
The 2 times I saw Leftfield in the space of a few months (Glasgow Barrowlands then T In The Park 96) remain the 2 best gigs I've ever been to.
― Odysseus, Monday, 20 February 2017 09:18 (five months ago) Permalink
CD2 is just 11 "brand new" remixes which is slightly disappointing.
― groovypanda, Monday, 20 February 2017 09:31 (five months ago) Permalink
i got a 2cd version of leftism not long after the album came out with an extra cd of remixes then.but i think they were reversions done by the band as opposed to other folks.ahh .. this :
leftfield are headlining the one festival i go to this year, and i am looking forward to it.mk1 saw them last year at boomtown, and said they were one of the highlights
― mark e, Monday, 20 February 2017 10:13 (five months ago) Permalink
I listened to Leftism recently and it's showing its age in a way that albums like In Sides and Middle of Nowhere aren't.
― Working night & day, I tried to stay awake... (Turrican), Monday, 20 February 2017 19:36 (five months ago) Permalink
I listened to it recently and thought it was great! Maybe the setting helped - on the river beach in London on a summer night through crappy portable speakers with cheap lager and a small driftwood fire.
― brekekekexit collapse collapse (ledge), Monday, 20 February 2017 19:50 (five months ago) Permalink
Ha, I feel exactly the opposite way. Could listen to Leftfield anytime - haven't felt the urge to listen to Orbital in years.
― Don Van Gorp, midwest regional VP, marketing (誤訳侮辱), Monday, 20 February 2017 20:05 (five months ago) Permalink
Spectacular remaster! (Haven't dared listening to the remix cd though)
― StanM, Tuesday, 16 May 2017 20:23 (two months ago) Permalink
The remixes are v disappointing.
― nashwan, Tuesday, 16 May 2017 21:21 (two months ago) Permalink
i only liked 2 of the remixes at most
― Odysseus, Tuesday, 16 May 2017 22:30 (two months ago) Permalink
The passage of time has been very kind to Leftism.The Zomby remix is cool.
― the article don, Thursday, 18 May 2017 01:02 (two months ago) Permalink
What a weird thread. They're not even remotely the same thing.
― yesca, Thursday, 18 May 2017 03:55 (two months ago) Permalink