Home Read Classic Album Review: Orbital | The Altogether

Classic Album Review: Orbital | The Altogether

The U.K. techno stars up the pop ante with high-profile samples and VIP guests.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Siblings Paul and Phil Hartnoll have been U.K. techno stars for a decade. But on their aggressively groovy new disc The Altogether, they seem to be pining to be pop stars.

Several of the tunes on this 11-song document are based around samples from the harder-hitting side of their crates: Tension gets its kicks from the surfabilly sounds and stuttering vocals of Surfin’ Bird and The Crusher; Oi! grooves to the strains of Ian Dury’s Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick; Tootled puts up a brash front copied from Tool’s Sober. In other developments, troubadour David Gray guests on the swoopy twilight pop of Illuminate, and Doctor? does a bit of reconstructive surgery on the Dr. Who theme. Electronica purists will probably turn up their noses as such commercial leanings, but for the most part the brothers keep the tracks tight and toned enough to keep things interesting. A second CD of recent remixes, B-sides and unreleased tracks keeps it even more interesting. Altogether, not too shabby.