Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Orb featuring David Gilmour - Metallic Spheres

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, jazz cigarette, you get the picture..

4 out of 5

Take your pick!

If you're tempted to buy this, the double cd version below features a simulation of surround sound but in normal two channel stereo on the second cd, which sounds rather good on headphones I'm told.

Footnote - the royalties from this album are apparently all going to Gary McKinnon, the Brit the US wants to put on trial for hacking into the Pentagon's computer system, hence the repeated refrains throughout the album for "Justice" and "Freedom".

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