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  Orbital Back to Mine
Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5

by Sterling McGarvey

...and now, for something completely different. Although many argue that downtempo/chill-out is on its last leg in terms of trendiness (just wait till this time next year when This Is Electroclash Vol. 35 comes out), one of dance music's granddaddy groups slinks along with their rendition of the "I'm Sitting on the Couch While Some Guy Chain Smokes Behind the Decks and Plays Weird but Brilliant Shit at 5:30am on a Sunday Morning" album. That's right; it's Orbital's turn to give the world their vision of the "chill-out" album. The contribution of the Brothers Hartnoll to the Back to Mine series is a wild ride through a hodgepodge of sonic diversity.

If you're thinking you're going to get a well-balanced Back to Mine with some logical flow, akin to other series releases, then click your "back" button and flee. Flee quickly. The track selections suggest the idea of someone who's drank too much tequila and decided that it would be best to spin a set before revisiting his chimichangas during a Sunday session with the porcelain God.

A John Barry score melts into dub (courtesy of Lee 'Scratch' Perry)... and that's just the first two tracks. There are moments that might leave one pumping a fist and shouting "yes!" One of those moments comes with the transition from the blips and breaks of EON's "Spice" into The Tornadoes' "Love & Fury." Orbital's own exclusive (and very fun) track, "Ska'd for Life," even makes an appearance. No one could see it coming, but the track composition totally broadsides the ears like a really bad car accident. In fact, the album feels like Paul and Phil Hartnoll have essentially taken a baseball bat to any sonic aesthetics that one might have set up prior to listening.

If I were hanging out with Orbital after a party and they played this set, I'm sure there'd be some drunk British guy leaning over to me saying, "this is fooking brilliant!!!!" After leaning away from his beer-and-ganja-laden breath, I'd probably nod and agree. How many people can say that their downtempo selections include dub classics, PJ Harvey, theme songs from 70s softcore German porno films (Gert Wilden & Orchestra's theme from Schulmaedchen Report), and Jethro Tull? Don't answer that. Anyone who is probably won't be nearly as legendary as Orbital. And they won't use movie scores to bookend the album.


Back To Mine from Back to Mine
by Orbital

Track Listing:

  1. The Knack
  2. Justice To The People
  3. Babaloo
  4. Spice (J. Saul Kane Version)
  5. Love & Fury
  6. We Have Come To Bless The House
  7. Ska'd For Life (Instrumental Mix) Exclusive
  8. Schulmaedchen Report (Title Theme)
  9. Kamikaze
  10. Celebrate The Bullet
  11. No Idea
  12. Lost Property
  13. Pal Pal Teri Yaad
  14. Half Stepper
  15. Don't Burn Your Bridges
  16. Living In The Past
  17. Newtwork Twenty Three
  18. New Bass Hippo
  19. The Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe

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